Babe Ruth’s Secret of Success
Yet Babe Ruth also knew what it was like to experience failures and set-backs. Many people are not aware that Babe Ruth also held the record for the most strikeouts. When the Babe retired in 1935, his 1330 career strike outs was a Major League Baseball record. Ruth’s strikeout record was not broken until 1964, by another baseball great, Mickey Mantle.
The most Ruth struck out in a season was 93 times in 1923. Yet this was also the year he hit 41 home runs and batted .393. When asked how he hit so many home runs, he replied, “I swing as hard as I can… I swing big with everything I’ve got. I hit big or I miss big. I like to live as big as I can.” It would have been so easy for Babe to play it safe and just get a base hit. He was willing to risk striking out and facing the disapproval of the crowd.
What was Babe’s secret of success? It really wasn’t a secret because he shared it with anyone who asked. He said, “Never let the fear of striking out hold you back.” He knew he had to put up with temporary failure and set backs in order to achieve his ultimate goal.
Babe Ruth was once asked by a reporter if he ever became discouraged by his many strikeouts. He said, “I just go up there and I swing. I just keep on swinging and I keep on swinging. Every strike brings me closer to my next home run.” On another occasion, the Babe said, “I may have my faults, but giving up ain’t one of them.”
One of Babe Ruth’s secrets of success was viewing mistakes and failures as learning opportunities. How do you react when you make a mistake? Do you criticize or even condemn yourself? Judging yourself harshly will not help you change your behavior for the better. In fact, it will probably cause you to just give up and retreat to the “status quo.” Instead, treat yourself with self-compassion. Be patient and show kindness towards yourself. Follow the Babe’s example of perseverance. As he wisely observed, “It’s hard to beat a person who never gives up.”