Today is September 9 and the Navigate the Chaos question to consider is “how often do you remind yourself to never quit?” People who navigate the chaos know that things will go wrong, that they will run low on money, or that the road they are traveling seems all up hill, but they never quit.
While other Navigate the Chaos posts focus on the benefit of quitting that which is bad for you, this reflection piece today challenges you to increase your self-awareness regarding your approach when things get difficult along your path. Upon the first obstacle what do you do? When someone or a group of people get in your way how do you respond? When some external event makes progress seemingly impossible for you, do you quit? You can. Quitting is certainly an option. But then how do you translate your dreams into reality?
Edgar A. Guest was a popular poet for several decades during the twentieth century, and his poems appeared in a syndicated newspaper column. On March 3, 1921 he published a poem entitled “Keep Going”
“When things go wrong, as they sometimes will,
When the road you’re trudging seems all up hill,
When the funds are low and the debts are high,
And you want to smile, but you have to sigh,
When care is pressing you down a bit,
Rest if you must—but don’t you quit.
Life is queer with its twists and turns,
As every one of us sometimes learns,
And many a failure turns about
When he might have won had he stuck it out;
Don’t give up, though the pace seems slow.
You may succeed with another blow.
Often the goal is nearer than It seems to a faint and faltering man,
Often the struggler has given up When he might have captured the victor’s cup.
And he learned too late, when the night slipped down,
How close he was to the golden crown.
Success is failure turned inside out—The silver tint of the clouds of doubt,
And you never can tell how close you are, It may be near when it seems afar;
So stick to the fight when you’re hardest hit
It’s when things seem worst that you mustn’t quit.”
One such person who decided to keep going was Steve Delabar. From the time he was drafted by the Major League Baseball team San Diego Padres in 2003, until he made his professional baseball debut on September 11, 2011, for the Seattle Mariners, it took him eight long years.
Delabar’s story about his road to becoming a professional baseball player illustrates another example of how one can navigate the chaos of life by a steadfast belief in their ability to keep going. In 2003 the San Diego Padres drafted Delabar and he began playing in the minor leagues the following years. For five years he played in the low minor leagues until he sustained a severe elbow injury that required a steel plate and nine screws embedded to stabilize the elbow during the surgery.
In 2010 he worked as a substitute teacher and then became an assistant high school baseball coach. He helped to implement an arm conditioning program for pitchers at the high school and found that his own pitching velocity improved significantly. Using a throwing program developed by Tom House and Jamie Evans, Delabar saw his fastball velocity spike to 97 miles per hour.
Since he kept thinking about playing professional baseball, Delabar tried out with the Seattle Mariners in 2011 and got assigned to the team's class A affiliate. He progressed to Classes High A, Double-A, and Triple-A, then to the major leagues. His MLB debut came late in 2011 at the age of 28.
He was traded to the Toronto Blue Jays in 2012 and in 2013 posted a 5–1 record with a 1.58 ERA and an American League reliever-leading 57 strikeouts in 40 innings over 35 games played prior to the All-Star Game. On July 11, 2013 it was announced that Delabar had been elected to the 2013 All-Star game in the Final Vote contest, receiving 9.6 million votes.
British statesman Winston Churchill noted “Never give up on something that you can't go a day without thinking about.” Delabar never gave up on playing professional baseball. How long will you keep trying to translate your dreams into reality?