Ken Donaldson: Rays, Pearls and Spoiled Oysters

I was invited to be a guest with my friends on Fox TV Good Day Tampa Bay  earlier this week to discuss “our” Tampa Bay Rays playoff situation and the impact it has on relationships.

(It’s funny how we/I suddenly take ownership when the hometown team is doing well…let’s see what happens if/when they lose!!)

Don’t get the connection?

You know, like what happens if one spouse is a Rays fan and the other is a Yankees, Red Sox or (worst case scenario) Rangers fan?

How do they keep the peace?

Or if one is just a diehard baseball fan and the other thinks all sports are just stupid and a total waste of time…how do they bridge that gap?

Or if one gets loud and very animated (or even a bit obnoxious) and the other likes quiet and peace, how can they both be happy and still share the same living space?

Yes, that’s what we were going to talk about.

But when I got there and we started to talk (during the commercial breaks and outtakes…it’s amazing what all happens in those short breaks and how productive that time can be) the conversation went in a whole different direction: What do the Rays need to do to win?

(That’s what you call getting thrown a screwball, knuckler and slider all in one!)

That is what Russell Rhodes, the co-anchor of FOX 13’s Good Day Tampa Bay, wanted to know….here’s what I shared with him (which is pretty much the same thing I’ll say to you when you ask me how to improve the quality of your life, your relationships or your career):

  • Live in the present….there is no past. Too many times an athlete will ruminate about a failure and, in doing so, plants a seed to repeat the same thing.

    Why?

    Because the mind is very impressionable to imagery and the images you feed the mind will lead the mind in whatever direction the images go.

    Therefore if a player strikes out, the best thing for that player to think about next is the next hit.

    BUT, if it’s a pitcher who just gave up a hit, then the best thing for that pitcher to think about immediately is getting the next strike out….be fully in the present preparing for your next success…always.

  • Be like Michael Jordan…Michael Jordan, who without question was one of the most elite athletes of all-time, had a ritual before every basketball game he played. He would visualize the highlights of the game. He would see how many points he would score during the game, how he would exploit the defenders from that team and how he would prevent them from exploiting him.

    How much of his success was based on that simple ritual? Hard to say, but it’s a similar ritual that almost of the elite athletes use before their games or events.

    Plus, it’s also the same ritual a very high ratio of successful people use for their businesses, relationships and health.

  • Do be…sometimes it’s best to DO nothing, but just BE….Do Be!

    It’s easy to get so much advice and information racing around between the ears, that one can overwhelm themselves and distract their true capabilities. 

    In other words, sometimes athletes think too much about what they’re doing or what they’re about to do and they actually don’t allow their natural talent to shine all by itself…or as they say in the East: Less is More!

I probably could have gone on and on, as these are some of my favorite topics, but Russell asked a much more serious question:

What does the person do who’s unemployed and looking for work? Does he/she do the same thing?

“Yes!” Without a doubt!

I’m not going to try to pull any unrealistic Pollyanna frou-frou stuff here, just the reality:
You, I and any one of us can create whatever we want if we want it bad enough and we’re willing to work for it.

Want proof? Here it is, here they are and now there are NO MORE excuses:

“I always felt a bit alone and isolated from other people…I did a lot of pretending as a child. It was my way of coping with the fact that I didn’t feel like I fit in.” ~Keneau Reeves, actor, dyslexic

From a note signed by this dyslexic and his mother: “If I don’t miss one day of school this year I got $1.00.” ~Nelson A. Rockefeller, former VP USA, dyslexic

“When a man does all he can, though it succeeds not well, blame not him that did it.” ~George Washington, 1st President of USA, problem with reading and writing

“Failure in school does not mean failure in life.” ~Steven J. Cannell, author and Emmy winning TV producer, dyslexic

“My mom and I used to go to Hollywood and look at all the rich people. I said then that someday I was going to be somebody. I even practiced signing my autograph.” ~Cher, entertainer, dyslexic

“I firmly believe that deep in their soul everyone has a champion that can overcome obstacles and do great things.” ~Bruce Jenner, former Olympic Gold medalist, dyslexic

“The looks, the stares, the giggles…I wanted to show everybody that I could do better and also that I could read.” ~Magic Johnson, former NBA star, dyslexic

“My childhood was extremely lonely. I was dyslexic and lots of kids made fun of me. That experience made me tough inside, because you learn to quietly accept ridicule.” ~Tom Cruise, actor, dyslexic

He did not speak until the age of three and teachers labeled him mentally slow: “Anyone who has never made a mistake has never tried anything new.” ~Albert Einstein, scientist

“My diary is a disaster…I can’t spell at all…I’ll spell the same word completely differently in the same sentence.” ~Liv Tyler, actress, writing disability (dysgraphia)

“Life is full of challenges. How you handle these challenges is what builds character. Never be afraid to be who you are.” ~Erin Brockovich, activist, dyslexic

In reference to his being the class clown: “I didn’t want anyone to know that I didn’t get it.” ~Tommy Hilfiger, designer, dyslexic

“I used to love reading when I was little, and then it became difficult and I didn’t understand why. I thought, what a bummer, my passion all drained out of me. So when I found out I had dyslexia, it was like, oh, that’s what it was.” ~Jewel, singer, dyslexic

“My learning disabilities pushed me to discover talents that I wasn’t aware of having. It has also led me to develop products to help others who struggled through school as I did.” ~Reyn Geyer, inventor of Nerf balls & Twister, dyslexic

“The secret of getting ahead is getting started.” ~Agatha Christie, author, dysgraphic (dictated her work)

“My mother was the making of me. She was so true, so sure of me and I felt I had someone to live for, someone I must not disappoint.” ~Thomas Edison, inventor, struggled with math, did not read until 12 years old, teachers told him he wasn’t smart

“If you can dream it, you can do it.” ~Walt Disney, struggled with reading

“I get stubborn and dig in when people tell me I can’t do something and I think I can. It goes back to my childhood when I had problems in school because I have a learning disability. I never wanted to be perceived as handicapped or limited in any way.” ~Ann Bancroft, polar explorer, dyslexic

“Your brain is much better than you think; just use it!” ~Leonardo Da Vinci, artist, scientist, inventor, trouble with spelling, had so many ideas and inventions he had trouble staying on track

“If you read to me I could tell you everything that was read. They didn’t know what it was. They knew I wasn’t lazy, but what was it?” ~Whoopi Goldberg, actress, dyslexic

“One thing about mildly dyslexic people – they’re good at setting everything else aside to pursue one goal.” ~Jay Leno, entertainer, dyslexic

“I felt like an alien. I always felt like I never belonged to any group that I wanted to belong to.” ~Steven Spielberg, movie maker, dyslexic, struggled with math, dropped out of high school

“It is not easy to compete when you have a learning disability, but it is possible.” ~Henry Winkler, actor, dyslexic

Now…just go do that thing that you’re here to do…and just do it to the best of your ability and get people to support you and cheer you on!

Oh, and what’s the pearls and spoiled oysters ( I know, it’s really a clam, but go with me on this!!) got to do with it all? In every spoiled oyster there lies a potential pearl…you just have to turn it inside out to find it!

More from Ken Donaldson here.

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