On a fairly regular basis at The Texas Baseball Ranch you will hear Coach Wolforth say, “Have a big enough ‘why’ and the ‘how’ will become self-evident”. Today I’m going to have you take a look at your whys.
When Roger Clemens was growing up his mother worked a night shift, as a cleaning lady, scrubbing floors in order to provide for her family as a single mother. Roger tells the story of having this image imprinted in his mind. It was a major ‘why’ for him; he wanted to make a great living so that his mother NEVER had to work on her knees scrubbing floors again. That’s a pretty powerful ‘why’.
A lot of players come to The Ranch looking for some help because of arm issues, in some cases very serious arm issues. Others have been snubbed because they don’t throw hard enough. Both of these are very strong ‘whys’ for some young men and these athletes don’t want to these to be obstacles any longer on their path.
Whatever it is you are involved in, especially when something is not going the way you’d like, the question is “Why do you want to do this?” “Why is this important?” If you struggle answering that question then you should 1) spend some more time thinking about it and determine your ‘why’ or 2) consider doing something else.
For many people the first ‘why’ is not deep enough. Although it’s good to have a starting place, it doesn’t fit Coach Wolforth’s “Have a big enough ‘why’”. For example, I ask a young person, “Why do you practice?” A common answer is “Because I want to be a better player.” The sequence would continue as follows:
Me: Why do you want to be a better player?
Player: So that I can become a starter.
Me: Why do you want to be a starter?
Player: Because I have a better chance to be seen by colleges.
Me: Why do you want to be seen by colleges?
Player: Because I can get a scholarship.
Me: Why do you want a scholarship?
Player: Because my parents aren’t going to be able to afford to pay for college and the scholarship would provide me the opportunity to get a college degree.
Now, we’re getting somewhere. That’s a pretty big why. So if we started with the question again, “Why do you practice?” and the bigger why is “It helps me to improve my skills to a level that I can be a starter and have an opportunity to be seen by college recruiters who ultimately can offer me a scholarship that will help pay for my college education”.
Most people start with the ‘how’. “How do I do this?” “How do I do that?” The question in return is, “Why do you REALLY want to do this or that?” Once you determine a big enough or strong enough why, the how becomes evident.
Let me be very clear, this is an emotionalized ‘why’. Not just something that sounds nice or makes you look and feel smart by saying it. It must be felt down deep in your gut. It must truly move you. That’s when you know you have a big enough ‘why’.
So, if you happen to be struggling with something that you think you really want, ask yourself why you want it and are doing it. Really ask. By keeping the why alive you might just be surprised where it takes you.