Be the ticket or buy a ticket? You make the call

In the world of sports, there’s a saying that goes, “Be the ticket or buy a ticket,” coined by me. It’s a profound statement that encapsulates the difference between talented individuals and skilled individuals.

Talent often is seen as the starting point, but it’s what you do with that talent that truly matters.

Growing up, many of us are told how talented we are, whether it’s in academics, athletics, or any other endeavor. However, this praise can sometimes become a double-edged sword. When we constantly hear about our talent from a young age, we may start to believe that we’ve already reached our peak, that there’s nowhere else to go. We may become complacent, thinking that our talent alone will carry us through life.

It’s not until we face competition that matches or exceeds our own talent that we realize the importance of more than just raw ability. In high school, we compete for playing time against others just as talented as we are, if not more so. Then, as a team, we face off against other talented opponents. It’s in this environment that we begin to understand the value of habits.

Habits are what we do well repeatedly, without even having to think about it. They’re the foundation upon which success is built. In college, the focus shifts away from talent and towards the development of good habits. But it’s not until we reach the professional level that we truly grasp the significance of skills.

Skills are what we do well repeatedly, without thought, even under stress. They’re what ultimately pay the bills. In the world of professional sports, talent alone won’t cut it. It’s the players with the refined skills, honed through years of practice and dedication, who rise to the top.

But “be the ticket or buy a ticket,” isn’t just applicable to sports. It’s a metaphor for life. As baseball fans, we may fondly reminisce about our glory days on the field, but we have to buy a ticket to experience that nostalgia. The players on the field are the ones who hold the key to that experience.

The good news is that even when our playing days are over, we can still be Major League Citizens. We can continue to strive for excellence, knowing that talent is just the starting point, and that skills are what truly make a difference in the long run. Talent may be the floor, but skills pay the bills. So let’s focus on building those skills, both on and off the field, and strive to be the ticket in our own lives.

For more information, visit L.E.A.D. Center for Youth today.

If you found this inspiring and thought-provoking, or if you have any questions, comments or concerns, add me on Discord and let’s go deeper.

C.J. Stewart has built a reputation as one of the leading professional hitting instructors in the country. He is a former professional baseball player in the Chicago Cubs organization and has also served as an associate scout for the Cincinnati Reds. As founder and CEO of Diamond Directors Player Development, C.J. has more than 22 years of player development experience and has built an impressive list of clients, including some of the top young prospects in baseball today. If your desire is to change your game for the better, C.J. Stewart has a proven system of development and a track record of success that can work for you.