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Author:Brian Barca


Heard of the “Pink Elephant” theory? You may or may not have, but I can guarantee it’s probably had an effect on a lot of games you have played in. Let’s take the player who comes up late in the game with the tying run on third base and the winning run at second base. To make it even more interesting, let’s now say that – up until this point, this player at bat had hit three home runs in his previous three trips to the plate. The count is 1-1, and the third pitch of the at bat is a ball out of the strike zone, over the batters head. However, the player swings and misses.

Immediately, this player may hear, “Come on! Don’t swing at the pitch over your head! You can’t hit that can you? Come on now we have two guys on base. We’re counting on you! Don’t swing at that pitch!” Or he might hear, “Come on bud. That’s over your head right kiddo? Don’t worry about it. Don’t swing at the pitch over your head. You can do it. We all believe in you. Just don’t swing at the pitch over your head.”

A perfect example of the “Pink Elephant” theory.

The intriguing part about the former description is that the end result is typically the same. The batter doesn’t swing at the next pitch over his/her head. The problem is they don’t swing at another possible pitch – the one right down the middle for strike three. The game is over and the player doesn’t care that they hit three home runs. They feel they let everyone down and lost the game.

I invite you to try it sometime. When was the last time someone told you not to worry? Were you able to just stop worrying right then and there in that moment?

The more we try to force these things, the more bound up we get and the harder it is to perform freely and to our potential.

Don’t think of a pink elephant. Got it? Don’t think of a pink elephant.

Thinking of a Pink Elephant right now?

Thought so.


We don’t tend to think of life events or situations that occur in our life in terms of neutrality. Your “life” itself is constant while your life situations are neutral.

However, we usually judge and/or assign our life situations a value: positive or negative (ex. homerun vs. strike out), good or bad (diving play vs. diving miss), helpful or hurtful (being strong vs. being weak). While most of us think that these external circumstances actually happen “to” us (ex. a SLUMP),  in truth –  they don’t. They are just happening. All life situations are just happening.

Granted, we play a role in the outcome of whatever it is we face, but regardless of our role whether happy or disappointed, the nature of all circumstances or results in life is unbiased.

More precisely, if you can sense this difference between what goes on in the outside world (your life situations) and the resolute nature of your inner world(your life), you’ll be to handle not only the ups and downs on the baseball field, but in other areas of your life as well. Everything that occurs in our lives is meant to show us the way, not get in our way and it is up to us to make that choice. Bottom line – you are not regulated by your external circumstances.

An easier way to explain this is when you haven’t had a hit in 20 at bats and you hit a single to center, you ARE NOT out of your slump. The world would tell you that because that’s how they have defined it. The truth is that those hitless at bats never controlled you to begin with. They were neutral, just happening, not really happening to you.

That’s the beauty of baseball. You can fail 7 times out of 10 and be considered good. I can show you the guy who goes 0-10 at the plate and is good. 10 balls hit on the barrel of the bat extremely hard – and all caught.

Remember it’s…



It seems each and every day people are trying to reform something. We find this in regards to baseball too. People want to teach the physical mechanics only in this way or that way. In reality, wouldn’t it be better if these two things were taught first?

  1. Leading
  2. Solving Interesting Problems

There are many who say that certain people are “born leaders” and that just isn’t true. You are a product of your environment. Your child is a product of their environment. Want your kid to be a leader? Show them how to lead. The best way to do that.


Let them watch you do the work you do in a way that they don’t need motivated to do theirs. They catch on because of course…they are a product of their environment.

The second focus of course is to learn to solve interesting problems. There in lies what stands before any player. They have a problem. They need to get better AND better than their peers. To solve this interesting problem, you must know there isn’t a problem at all. The world tells you there is a problem when you can’t do this or that on the field. The truth is, you should be saying, I have years to get better. So where do you go from here?

Work hard. Fail. Grow. Work some more. Fail some more. Grow again. At the end of your journey, if you’ve done this, what you thought was a problem will most likely be solved. You will have realized that what everyone else saw as a problem allowed you to stay ahead of the game and not bound up by all the external circumstances that tend to keep others from reaching their full potential.