Work and play is a choice that each of us face everyday. We need to constantly remind ourselves what we’re doing, what our purpose is for the action we’re taking, and whether or not we’ll regret that we didn’t take full advantage of the moment when we had it.
The following was written in the book 52 Week Baseball Training by Gene Coleman. It’s written for an aspiring ballplayer but it applies to any occupation. See if it doesn’t motivate you.
You can get by on talent and skill for a while. Work smart and you’ll achieve success and extend your career. To ensure success, limit the time spent in activities not directly related to your development. Surround yourself only with people vital to your success. Avoid those with no goals and negative attitudes. They’ll drain your energy and bring you down to their level. Given the choice between work and play, choose work. You’ll have the rest of your life to play when you retire. Allow only two things to take priority over your profession—your family and your religion. Take charge of your future. Start closing the gap between where you are and where you want to be.
How you train will affect your success and future. If you’re in shape, you can give better effort, avoid injuries, and accomplish more work. There are many factors that you can’t control, but you can control how you prepare for the season. You should never get beat because the opposition is better prepared.
To make the team and compete for the championship, it’s imperative that you get in shape, stay in shape, and give 100 percent from start to finish. Preparation separates the successful from the could have beens. Look around. You know most of the guys at your position. How hard are they working? If you’re competing for the same prize but doing less work, something is wrong. Adjust your priorities.
The choice is really up to you. You can work and be the best you can be, or you can enjoy the moment and do just enough to get by. If you take the easier path, however, someday you might regret what you didn’t accomplish. Cal Ripken doesn’t plan on having any regrets. He told a reporter from USA Today (June 25, 1998), “Along the way, I’ve watched a number of players retire. And they’ve always told me, ‘I wish I had played more, taken care of myself and taken it more seriously.’ I want to be able to say that I took full advantage of the opportunity. I don’t want to have any regrets.” Cal’s approach is relatively simple—when you come to the ballpark, be ready to play. Cal is living proof that the only form of discipline that lasts is self-discipline.