Baseball, Japan, and Self Confidence

Today is Monday, so this post is on self confidence.

I had to go to Japan to realize that something special was happening in Denver.  If you’re a major league baseball fan, by now you know that the Colorado Rockies are the feel good story of the 2007 season.  In their 15 year history, the Rockies have been lovable losers, making the playoffs just once and then getting bounced in the first round.

This year seemed to be no different.  Sure, the sportscasters in Denver get saying that they had a chance to win the wild card.  However, for most of the season, they were third out of four teams in their division, traditionally the weakest in baseball.  So I wasn’t paying much attention.

When I arrived in Japan last weekend, my client told me that they still had a chance to get into the playoffs.  The Rockies have a Japanese player on their roster, Kaz Matsui.  The Japanese are great baseball fans and follow the US major league teams who have Japanese players. 

When I woke up Tuesday morning, I saw an article in the Japan Times that said the Rockies and San Diego Padres were tied for the wild card at the end of the regular 162 game season.  They would play one game to see who got to go to the playoffs on Monday.  As I read the article, I realized that Rockies were on a roll.  To get to that place, they won 12 of their lat 13 games in the regular season.  Fair weather fan that I am, I started to pay attention. 

As it turns out, the Rockies won last Monday night, coming from two runs down in the bottom of the 13th inning.  They began the playoffs in Philadelphia, winning the first two games of a best of five series.  Saturday, they eliminated Philadelphia.  They have won 17 of the last 18 games they’ve played.  They begin the National League Championship Series against the Arizona Diamondbacks on Thursday. 

I bring this up here because of a quote from Rockies Outfielder, Brad Hawpe that I saw in the Denver Post on Sunday.  “Baseball is all about confidence, and our confidence continues to grow with each win.”

Mr. Hawpe’s comments apply not just to baseball, but to life.  Self confidence is the first ingredient of success.  And, like in baseball, the more successes you have, the more confident you become.  Conversely, when you fail, it is easy to lose your confidence. 

Traditionally, the Rockies have failed.  They have played reasonably well for most of the season only to fail in August and September.  This year, they have a lot of young players.  These players believed in themselves enough to break the cycle.  They were confident.  They didn’t believe that they would fail again this year.  Instead, they looked at where they were with three weeks to go in the season, and said, “We have to win almost all of our games if we’re going to get into the playoffs.”  And then they won all but one.  Good for them.  Who knows if they’ll beat Arizona and get into the World Series.  But even if they don’t, they’ll begin next season with a lot of confidence and high expectations.

The same is true in life.  At times, it may seem as if you’re engaged in an uphill struggle.  But, if you believe in yourself, you’ll surprise yourself with what you can accomplish.

The common sense point for today is simple.  Believing in yourself is the first step to career and life success.  Don’t let setbacks get you down.  Break the negative cycle by choosing to learn from your mistakes and failures.  Use this knowledge to help you move forward.

That’s it for today.  Thanks for reading.  Log on to my website to subscribe to my monthly ezine and for more common sense.  Check out my other blog: for common sense advice on leading people and running a small business.

I’ll see you around the web, and at Alex’s Lemonade Stand.


PS: Speaking of Alex’s Lemonade Stand – my fundraising page is still open.  Please go to to read Alex’s inspiring story and to donate if you can.

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