This is a story on how to reinvent yourself.

But can you tell it? 

Let’s try.

You fail.

You try again.

You fail.

You try again.

Nothing changes unless you make it change. You can get stuck in the same routine, with the same results, with the same crappy feeling in your stomach over and over and over again if you don’t change something. A great deal of the time it’s important to change your actions which yield different results. But there’s another step beyond that. Sometimes, you have to change your view completely, and it won’t just change your results, it will change your world.

I am convinced that one of the hardest things in the world is to get right back up after you have not just been knocked on your back, you’ve been stomped into the ground twice, three times, four times etc. So it’s story time.

When I was a freshman coming into my first year of baseball at college, I wasn’t prepared at all for the level of competition I was about to see. I remember one of my first outings was probably the worst pitching performance I had ever had. First guy came up…home run. Second guy came up…home run. Third guy came up…home run. Fourth guy I got out…Walked a guy…Fifth guy came up…and hit a ball that hit off the of top of the fence in centerfield. The coach didn’t let me finish the scrimmage inning, he actually just pulled me from the game in disgust and the teams switched sides.

I had never, in my entire baseball career, felt so useless and humiliated.

I was determined to never let that happen again, and even though my baseball career was tailing off because of the structural issues with my elbow, I continued to work at it. Thing is, back then, baseball stopped being fun for me. It wasn’t fun anymore because I couldn’t trust myself with my physical issues.

I couldn’t walk out there with confidence and pitch like I had since I was 6 or 7 because  I was afraid my arm was going to pop like it did in high school. Eventually, it did pop again.

Even though it is one of the more humiliating memories I have, things for me seem to come in threes…and they always teach me great lessons.

Like that month last year I was stood up by three different dates. If you don’t think that rocked me to my core then you are dead wrong.

People will give you all sorts of advice about how “it’s about them and not you” and I am sure there is some truth in that, but it doesn’t really make you feel any better at the time. Rejection makes you, sometimes for a minute, sometimes for 6 months, question yourself and your worth. No one is greater than that reality.

So you get knocked on your back once, and while you are laying there you get run over by a marching band, a horse-drawn carriage and a semi truck…then what do you do?

You have to bounce back.

You have to be willing to run it out there again on the field of play and give it your best shot. You have to have a short memory. You have to also put these feelings in a special tank inside, and light it up when you need it. It doesn’t burn clean, but that’s okay.

I’ve been asked this many times….”How do you stay so positive? Has it always been like that?”

First off, no. No and no. I’m not positive all the time – I think that would actually be unhealthy. But I always take something positive out of a negative – that is my challenge for myself. I will always try to find some light in a situation. I spent so much of my life focusing on how much everything sucked, and because I was focusing on it, I just got more of it.

You can’t really control other people or events that just happen to you on a daily basis, but what you can control is your reaction to them. You can think things through, you can put your best foot forward and deliberately make the decision that you are going to move forward through anything.

The saying “Whatever doesn’t kill you makes you stronger” is right…

but it assumes that you are indeed going to make the choice of moving forward with a good mental attitude.

There are plenty of things in this world that might not kill you, and can make you weaker. I have experienced many of them, and they are all stemming from the decision to let life happen to me instead of my own decision to grab the wheel and steer it in my direction.

This is not to say that I have my moments where I put one some music and listen to a rapper spit out fire. I do. I have songs that I know by heart because they speak to me when I get upset. As angry as some of them can be, they all have one lesson in them….the lesson that I need to hear at that time…”this will not destroy me.”

You need to tap a lot inside of you in order to get to where you need to get. Just make sure you aren’t destroying people along the way. Because it does come down to a decision.

You have the choice to make people better or make people worse.

When you make that choice, you will end up realizing it also has a huge effect on yourself.

Evan Sanders
The Better Man Project