It’s a very simple lesson that I learned as a kid and ultimately built a business upon. The “mercy rule.”
I wasn’t very good at baseball when I was in Little League.
I was fat and couldn’t run. I’d close my eyes when the pitcher would throw a fastball and it looked more like I was trying to golf than play baseball. I played a mean shortstop, but it’s mostly because there was a lot of me to stop the ball. True story.
But my parents were massively supportive … making sure I always learned a lesson. Hustle, they taught me. All that matters is your hustle in life.
They were right. That was lesson number one.
The second lesson came to me from the coach.
We were getting slaughtered one particular game. It was something like 14 to 0 in the bottom of the fourth inning.
The umpire approached our coach.
“You want to call the game on the mercy rule?” he asked.
“In life, there is no mercy,” said the coach. “There are winners and losers. We will play the game to the end, and that’s that.”
The coach wanted to make sure we’d feel the joy of winning … and the pain of losing. He wanted to make sure every kid had every chance possible to get into the batter’s box, take their swings, and either hit it or miss it on their own merit.
That’s why I run my business the way I do – on meritocracy. You’re either going to knock it out of the park … or you’re not. If you don’t, you try harder the next day. And the next. You don’t get a participation trophy. You don’t get an A for effort. You don’t get promoted for “trying” or “feeling.” You get raises and promotions for winning.
There is no mercy. There is only glory or defeat.
Teach your kids the lesson when they are young. The last thing you want is for their boss to have to teach it to them when they aren’t.