A pitcher doesn’t throw a hundred-mile-per-hour fastball on
his first attempt. First he learns to hold the ball, then he learns to
throw the ball, and then he learns to throw the ball in the right direction. These steps are so fundamental that we overlook them.
Only then does a pitcher begin to improve speed and accuracy. He
throws a seventy-mile-per-hour ball before he throws an eighty mile-
per-hour ball, and a ninety-mile-per-hour ball before he
throws that hundred-mile-per-hour fastball. There may be days
when he can’t throw as fast as he could the day before. In these moments, he must either celebrate his overall progress or focus on
some aspect other than speed. He is not throwing as fast, but perhaps he is moving the ball better than he ever has or throwing with
more accuracy. At every juncture, he celebrates his progress.
When a pitcher gets injured, he begins rehabilitation by going
back to basics. He returns to the beginning, even to such fundamentals as learning to hold the ball again. A great rehab coach
designs a plan with stages and goals along the way so that the recovering athlete can celebrate his progress.
Celebrating progress is fundamental in the psychology of
change. In our culture we tend to celebrate by eating or buying
things, but the celebration I speak of here is something that takes
place within us. Celebrating progress means giving yourself a psychological pat on the back. There is nothing more powerful than
the way you speak to yourself. Celebrating progress is the first secret
to breaking those patterns of failure.
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