#1611 Areté +1° #235: Batting .300

Is Hall of Fame Material (in Life & Baseball)

Hi, this is Brian.

Welcome back to another Areté +1°, a micro-chapter from Areté: Activate Your Heroic Potential.

One of 451 ideas like this…


I don’t know about you, but I’m still kind of attached to the idea that I should never make a mistake.

I mean, I get it intellectually.

We need to remember to have a growth mindset, that we can’t do anything great without some setbacks, no movie was ever shot in one perfect sequence of scenes—there are always “mis-takes,” yada, yada, etc.

But that’s only GENERALLY true. When it comes to ME and YOU, we should be perfect, right? (Hah.)

Seriously. As I discuss in Conquering Perfectionism 101, I used to be such a perfectionist that I remember stressing myself out at my first job trying to make sure I got a staple perfectly parallel to the top of the page. (Laughing with compassionate joy at that twenty-two-year-old version of me.)

So… Let’s just say I’ve come a long way.

Here’s another little distinction that has helped me over the years. I loved baseball as a kid, so this metaphor really hits home for me.

Do you know how often a HALL OF FAME baseball player gets a hit? If you’re a baseball fan, you know that if you’re batting .300, you’re C R U S H I N G it.

If you can get three hits out of every ten at bats over the course of your career, you’ll be historically great and, perhaps, inducted into the Hall of Fame.

Here are some fun facts.

As of this writing, 270 players have been inducted into the Baseball Hall of Fame. Only 114 of them had a career batting average of over .300.

Ty Cobb managed to bat .368 over the course of his twentyfour-year (!) career—which is astonishing. Ted Williams had a .344 batting average, while Babe Ruth had a .342 average and Hank Aaron batted .305.

Look a little further down the list and you’ll see a LOT of guys WAY below .300. (Including some Hall of Fame MANAGERS who couldn’t hit much at all, including Tony La Russa, who was a middle infielder and whose batting average was a paltry .199 in 132 games over six seasons.)

All that to say: If you can get a hit in just THREE out of ten at bats, you’re among the best ever.

You could strike out the other seven times, and you’d STILL be Hall of Fame material.

Three for ten. That’s it.

And now we’re arriving at the point of our +1°.

Guess what? The best creators and entrepreneurs have the same batting average.

In fact, in Originals, University of Pennsylvania professor Adam Grant tells us: “Whether you’re generating or evaluating new ideas the best you can do is measure success on the kind of yardstick that batters use in baseball. As Randy Komisar puts it, ‘If I’m hitting .300, I’m a genius. That’s because the future cannot be predicted. The sooner you learn it, the sooner you can be good at it.’”

For those who may not know, Randy Komisar is a Hall of Fame entrepreneur and venture capitalist.

If HE thinks getting it right three out of ten times makes him a genius, I think we can consider embracing the same standard.

So… The next time you inevitably (!) swing and miss, remember our Hall of Famers.

Then get back up and give us all you’ve got.

P.S. Babe Ruth batted .342 over the course of his career. Which is kinda crazy epic considering the fact that he was also a pitcher.

And… As we’ve discussed… At one point, he led the league in home runs AND in strikeouts. That’s just how it goes. You swing hard and you’re going to miss. Let’s stay antifragile and know those strikeouts are often just reverse indicators as we have fun wisely yet aggressively swinging for the fences.

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