Maximizing Your Ability

Jim was born in Flint, Michigan.  As a high school student, he was an outstanding baseball pitcher and quarterback.  He was drafted by the Toronto Blue Jays to play baseball but decided to play college baseball at the University of Michigan.  While at Michigan, Jim’s teams won two Big 10 baseball championships.  Jim was chosen as the top amateur athlete in America.  He also competed for the U.S. baseball team in the Olympics and won the final game in the championship.

Jim was drafted to play with the California Angels and became the 15th player in major league history to play in the major leagues without ever playing in the minor leagues.  He won 12 games his rookie year with a 3.92 ERA.

Later in his career, he pitched a no hitter when he was with the Yankees.  Only 7 prior Yankees had pitched a no hitter at the time.  In addition, he had a 13 strike out game, as well as a seven-game winning streak.  Jim retired from baseball after a 10-year career.

By any measure, Jim Abbott maximized his ability.  But the fact that he achieved all that he did with only one hand makes his achievements even more remarkable.

Everyone has abilities that need to be developed and encouraged.  One can only imagine the discouragement that Jim must have faced growing up and wanting to be an athlete.  But he must have also had those who encouraged and believed in him.

But the key to maximizing our abilities is to have the drive to make the most of them.  Why don’t we maximize the abilities given to us?  In some cases, it may be self-doubt, and in other cases a lack of will.  Maybe we can’t overcome the negativity of others who doubt us.  We also need mentors who guide us to achieve what is the best of our talent.

To achieve the most of our abilities, we need to adopt a no excuses attitude.  We can never let a setback be the reason for giving up on our ability.  Also, we can never accept less than our best effort.  For many, we let our abilities plateau at a level below the peak we could achieve.

Just think about how much better our society would be if every one of us maximized our abilities.

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“Never allow the circumstances of your life to become an excuse.  People will allow you to do it.  But I believe we have a personal obligation to make the most of the abilities we have.”
– Jim Abbott

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