When you're 6 feet tall and 180 pounds at age 15, you're unconventional before you do a thing. But "King Kong" Keller's difference didn't come about by his size -- his notoriety was earned by what he did.
As a talented batter, Keller was a homerun threat during every at bat. This put fear into the hearts of every pitcher. As a talented catcher, Keller was a temper threat to every umpire who didn't make the right call on balls or strikes. This put fear into the hearts of every umpire. But rather than argue face-to-face over bad calls, Keller had an ingenious way of "improving" poorly performing umpires.
If Keller disagreed with a call, he'd merely grunt. If the umpire didn't catch on and made another bad call, Keller would grunt louder. If that failed to improve the umpire's performance, our team would chuckle knowing what was coming next - Keller's "old three-finger."
A three-finger signal to the pitcher did not mean a fastball. Nor did it mean a curveball. The three-finger sign told the pitcher to throw a dirtball - and throw it hard. Keller would then intentionally let the pitch go through his legs, banging hard against the umpire's shins.
It was the perfect crime. The umpire knew what was up by Keller's grin and our team's snickers, but could never prove it because it appeared to be "an accident." Net result? The umpire started paying much closer attention to his performance, resulting in more calls going Keller's way.
By "letting a few get through" Keller was able to gain better results.
Isn't that the way life works? The universe is constantly trying to show us where we've made the wrong calls with our lives.
We say something negative about a coworker and immediately feel badly about it, yet don't retract the comment.
The universe just grunted.
We cut corners on our job to start our weekend early, resulting in a poor product and a foreman pulling us aside for a corrective conference.
The universe just grunted louder.
We receive a simple request from the boss, lose our temper and tell him off, resulting in getting fired.
The universe just let one through.
The truth is, crisis is actually good for us. It's a wake-up call that what we've been doing is not the best way to continue. It's evidence that we've missed many chances to make less painful corrections. Crisis and adversity are merely stronger feedback that point us back to a direction that leads to our greater good.
Of course, some people see themselves as the victim of crisis. They see it as an attack - an undeserved aberration that appeared without warning. As if it appeared out of thin air and random chance and the only thing they need to learn is how to get out of the mess.
Despite appearances, we bring all crisis to ourselves because we need the lesson it contains. We need that big nudge toward better directing our thoughts, feelings and actions.
Perhaps it's a health crisis. Tell the truth. Weren't there warning grunts along the way to that diagnosis? Lost energy? Poor eating habits? Lack of exercise? Unhealthy thoughts?
Or perhaps it's a relationship crisis. What warning grunts were missed along the way? Start feeling distant? Increasing amounts of time alone? Secretly harboring resentment because the mate didn't fulfill your unspoken desires?
Once we take responsibility for creating the crisis, we're open to learning the lesson. We can then improve our performance. And in the learning, we become more sensitive to hearing the universe grunt the next time.
And maybe, just maybe, if we respond more quickly, the universe won't have to let one through.
Mike Johnson is an energetic writer & entrepreneur. Learn more about Mike's offerings at www.MikeJohnson.biz