Maybe You Only Need One Pitch

Imagine you are a professional pitcher and you only have the ability to throw one pitch. It's a fastball with good movement that's decently fast. Definitely not the fastest. Perhaps maybe a little above average speed, but nothing special.

How could you be a great pitcher? It can't be about focusing on the lack of pitch repertoire – that choice is gone in this hypothetical scenario.

It would have to be about perfecting everything else. The accuracy of the pitches. The slight variances in speed to keep batters on their toes. The timing of the wind up. The pressure you put on runners with your pick-off move.

Having accuracy does seem to do wonders for a baseball pitcher. Take for example Koji Uehara. He was a 38-year old pitcher in 2013 when he earned the MVP title in the ALCS (American League Championship Series.) He didn't have the fastest pitches (in fact, pretty slow fast ball at sub 90) or the most diverse pitching repertoire. What he had was accuracy. He threw an unbelievable amount of strikes relative to balls. And the outcomes show the effectiveness of such skills (They won the world series that year.)

There's something to be said about being a one-pitch type of person. Being really good at delivering on that one thing. You end up becoming known for being good at that one thing. And because you're good at it, you earn the trust and respect of others.

With minimized distractions and clarity on what to focus on, the one-pitch becomes the perfect backdrop to be able to let the other stuff that matters shine through.

Are you focusing on too many things?

Maybe it's time to reduce the pitching repertoire and focus on the effectiveness of the pitches instead.

Vice

I grew up in a household where my father worked well into the late hours of the night moving up the corporate ladder. I was relatively young then and I don't really remember spending a lot of weeknights with him.

He eventually had a change of heart and quit his job of being a higher-up in the corporate world and then became a pastor. Even then, he would relentlessly prepare his sermons throughout the week and spend his open weekdays, nights, and weekends with other church goers doing pastorly duties. I could tell he loved his job.

Actually, I could tell he just loved working.

My role model growing up was someone who's vice was his work. Looking back at it now, I can see that it wasn't the content of the work itself, but rather the act of doing work.

Though it may seem unintuitive, the content of the work you do is not what determines whether you are fulfilled or unfulfilled. I do think it's an important part of the equation. But I think a necessary prerequisite to finding fulfillment in work is to learn to like the act of doing work in the first place.

I attribute most of my ability to find fulfillment in the work, not to the love that I feel towards the work, but to the satisfaction I feel when I am working and being productive.

The best part is that a particular project, gig, or job may be swiped away from me one day. But the act of working will never go away. There's always something to be doing to create value in this world.

My vice is working.

Low Hanging Fruit

There are times when the low hanging fruit is the most appropriate option.

Doing something is often better than doing nothing.

Often times, we'll find that once we reach our hand out for the low-hanging fruit, we realize that there are better options if we just keep reaching.

The purpose of the low-hanging fruit is to get us to reach out. What we actually grab is not the point. The point is to grab at all.

This is basically true in any creative medium; If we want to get better, we should reach our hand out more often, and do the thing more. The more we spend time being creative, the more creative, innovative, and meaningful our work becomes.

Just keep pushing. The concept of pushing through and continuing to create more is the theme of one of my favorite videos. It's incredibly motivating, and I can't recommend bookmarking this enough:

Reach out for the low-hanging fruit.

What's the worst that can happen?

My single biggest source of stress seems to be overwhelm at work. Feeling like I don't have enough time to finish my deliverables is what gnaws at me every day.

The strange thing is, I've never not finished what I promised I would. I am not so sure what I'm worried about.

Then again, it could precisely be that I finish the work because I am worried. Does that mean that if I learned to cope with the overwhelm effectively, would I be less effective?

I am a little afraid to find out. But being consistently overwhelmed is also not productive as it can lead to burn out and even resentment in some scenarios.

As with most other difficult situations, it seems to be that shedding a light on negative emotions with a big-picture perspective helps alleviate my concerns.

What's the worst that can happen?

This question seems to magically align big picture priorities in my life and make clear what I'm worried about, and whether I should be worried about it.

In this example, it highlights that, at its core, a job is an economic trade for the employer's money and my time. They pay the market rate for the skillsets I provide, and either one of us could walk away should the deal be too unfavorable for either side.

So if I don't do well, the worst that can happen is that I lose my job, and I continue by searching for a new one. Sure, it'd be inconvenient, but it would not cause a permanent emotional wound, like say, losing a loved one would.

This process of asking myself, "What's the worst that could happen?" seems to be my go-to method for dealing with professional overwhelm.

Maybe my worries are just not that big of a deal.