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  • Writer's pictureDeric Hollings

The Baseball Rule of Life

 

On page 18 of The REBT Therapist’s Pocket Companion, I learned of a guideline previously unfamiliar to me. It’s called the “baseball rule of life.” Using this aphorism, one resolves to strike out and try a different approach when attempting a task three times with no success.

 

Although I’m not fond of sports—especially baseball, I can appreciate this principle. In fact, I like it much more than the oft-misattributed and false Albert Einstein axiom regarding the definition of insanity occurring when one does the same thing over and over again and expects a different outcome.

 

The scientific process involves repeated experimentation and this isn’t an insane act. For the record, the standard for legal insanity involves one’s inability to appreciate the wrongness of the behavior at issue, due to a mental disease, defect, or intellectual and developmental disability.

 

Yet, I digress. Rational Emotive Behavior Therapy (REBT) providers aren’t needlessly fixated on positivity, instillation of hope, or “good vibes” common with the practice of our compatriots who use other psychotherapeutic modalities. Instead, we seek truth.

 

For instance, a client may appreciate a psychotherapist who demonstrates affirmative willingness to collude with a person’s self-disturbed beliefs—also known as validation—though how is it helpful to join with chaos of an individual’s mind? REBT clinicians instead dispute the irrational beliefs which cause suffering.

 

Likewise, expressing enthusiasm for the future or seeking pleasurable body sensations, which are common with the emotion of joy, may not be what a client needs when seeking help. As such, REBT practitioners aim to help clients get better, not feel better.

 

Regarding the baseball rule, a person may think it’s harsh or uncompassionate when inviting one to resign to striking out when effort has proven unproductive after three attempts. However, I argue that it’s unkind to haphazardly encourage people to keep disturbing themselves with beliefs about how they ought to keep attempting an inadequate strategy.

 

Rather than using demandingness of this sort, one could merely let go of unhelpful beliefs and behavior, and try a different approach to the matter. Perhaps a pragmatic example of this plan of action is in order.

 

Suppose Jane Doe has asked her supervisor for a raise on three separate occasions though she’s been declined her request every time. Jane could believe, “I ought to be paid more for what I do, because it’s awful not having my efforts adequately rewarded.”

 

Maybe Jane asks again and again, to no avail. What then? When Jane’s belief is violated by her supervisor refusing to budge on the matter, Jane will likely disturb herself into sorrow or anger. How will that help Jane achieve her interest and goal for improved pay?

 

Using the baseball rule to life, Jane could opt for a more productive belief by concluding, “I’d like to receive more pay from this job. However, that’s unlike to occur, because I’ve been denied my request three times. Therefore, I’m going to look for another job.”

 

Although there are other available options for Jane, determining that continued attempts at seeking a raise from her current supervisor are futile. Therefore, she can try a wholly different approach after metaphorically striking out three times.

 

One thing I appreciate about this technique is that it can be taught to children and adolescents, as well as adults. Instilling this lesson in little John Doe at a young age could lead to far less elf-disturbance in life. So, what do you think about the baseball rule of life, dear reader?

 

If you’re looking for a provider who works to help you understand how thinking impacts physical, mental, emotional, and behavioral elements of your life—helping you to sharpen your critical thinking skills, I invite you to reach out today by using the contact widget on my website.

 

As a psychotherapist, I’m pleased to help people with an assortment of issues ranging from anger (hostility, rage, and aggression) to relational issues, adjustment matters, trauma experience, justice involvement, attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder, anxiety and depression, and other mood or personality-related matters.

 

At Hollings Therapy, LLC, serving all of Texas, I aim to treat clients with dignity and respect while offering a multi-lensed approach to the practice of psychotherapy and life coaching. My mission includes: Prioritizing the cognitive and emotive needs of clients, an overall reduction in client suffering, and supporting sustainable growth for the clients I serve. Rather than simply helping you to feel better, I want to help you get better!

 

 

Deric Hollings, LPC, LCSW

 

 

References:

 

Dryden, W. and Neenan, M. (2003). The REBT Therapist’s Pocket Companion. Albert Ellis Institute. ISBN 0-917476-26-3. Library of Congress Control Number: 20031044378

Hollings, D. (n.d.). Blog – Categories: Disputation. Hollings Therapy, LLC. Retrieved from https://www.hollingstherapy.com/blog/categories/disputation

Hollings, D. (2022, October 31). Demandingness. Hollings Therapy, LLC. Retrieved from https://www.hollingstherapy.com/post/demandingness

Hollings, D. (2022, March 15). Disclaimer. Hollings Therapy, LLC. Retrieved from https://www.hollingstherapy.com/post/disclaimer

Hollings, D. (2023, September 8). Fair use. Hollings Therapy, LLC. Retrieved from https://www.hollingstherapy.com/post/fair-use

Hollings, D. (2023, October 12). Get better. Hollings Therapy, LLC. Retrieved from https://www.hollingstherapy.com/post/get-better

Hollings, D. (2024, January 6). Happiness is a by-product. Hollings Therapy, LLC. Retrieved from https://www.hollingstherapy.com/post/happiness-is-a-by-product

Hollings, D. (n.d.). Hollings Therapy, LLC [Official website]. Hollings Therapy, LLC. Retrieved from https://www.hollingstherapy.com/

Hollings, D. (2024, January 2). Interests and goals. Hollings Therapy, LLC. Retrieved from https://www.hollingstherapy.com/post/interests-and-goals

Hollings, D. (2023, May 18). Irrational beliefs. Hollings Therapy, LLC. Retrieved from https://www.hollingstherapy.com/post/irrational-beliefs

Hollings, D. (2023, September 19). Life coaching. Hollings Therapy, LLC. Retrieved from https://www.hollingstherapy.com/post/life-coaching

Hollings, D. (2023, April 24). On truth. Hollings Therapy, LLC. Retrieved from https://www.hollingstherapy.com/post/on-truth

Hollings, D. (2023, September 15). Psychotherapeutic modalities. Hollings Therapy, LLC. Retrieved from https://www.hollingstherapy.com/post/psychotherapeutic-modalities

Hollings, D. (2022, March 25). Rational emotive behavior therapy (REBT). Hollings Therapy, LLC. Retrieved from https://www.hollingstherapy.com/post/rational-emotive-behavior-therapy-rebt

Hollings, D. (2024, January 3). Resignation. Hollings Therapy, LLC. Retrieved from https://www.hollingstherapy.com/post/resignation

Hollings, D. (2022, November 1). Self-disturbance. Hollings Therapy, LLC. Retrieved from https://www.hollingstherapy.com/post/self-disturbance

Hollings, D. (2022, October 7). Should, must, and ought. Hollings Therapy, LLC. Retrieved from https://www.hollingstherapy.com/post/should-must-and-ought

Hollings, D. (2023, August 6). The science. Hollings Therapy, LLC. Retrieved from https://www.hollingstherapy.com/post/the-science

Hollings, D. (2022, November 15). To don a hat. Hollings Therapy, LLC. Retrieved from https://www.hollingstherapy.com/post/to-don-a-hat

Hollings, D. (2023, November 23). Validation. Hollings Therapy, LLC. Retrieved from https://www.hollingstherapy.com/post/validation

Quote Investigator. (2017, March 23). Insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results. Retrieved from https://quoteinvestigator.com/2017/03/23/same/

Wikipedia. (n.d.). Albert Einstein. Retrieved from https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Albert_Einstein

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