Moneyball or the Power of Focusing on what You have Control over!

I just watched the movie Moneyball while visiting Sydney. When I saw that a movie about Billy Beane had come out, I simply had to go and watch it. Not because Brad Pitt plays the lead role or because I am a baseball fan – mind you, after so many years in the US, I still do not understand the rules completely – but because I heard about Billy Beane's achievements. Apparently he was able to convert a bottom of the barrel team into one with the most consecutive wins in baseball's history. Quite a remarkable achievement. I know that there is a lot of controversy about whether he really is a genius or even a successful GM or not but I will not get into any of this as this blog entry is not about baseball or sport per se, but rather about shifting of one's paradigm and focusing on what you have control over as opposed to worrying about things that you have no control over – in his case, the bigger budgets and better players of other teams in the franchise.

Since in my life it is all about the Power of our own Thoughts and how we can Change the set of Paradigms we are in, Beane's achievements quite naturally were rather intriguing to me so I wanted to learn more about him. Beane is the general manager of the Oakland Athletics, a baseball team operating without the mega budgets of the big name teams in the league – his team’s budget in 2002 was less than $40 million per year compared to say $140 million of the NY Yankees. With no money to buy championship talent Beane realized he has to look for a different way of doing things. His challenge was how to put together a team that was able to compete with the best of them while staying within the constraints of his low budget.

He had no clue as to how to go about this but he knew what the challenge was and that he had to do things fundamentally differently to how they had operated before.

Dismissing all of his team’s management efforts and suggestions to simply continue with the way they knew best – the old way – he eventually – (I do not believe in luck only in the power of creation!!) – stumbled across Peter Brand, a young economics graduate working in the back office of a big name competing team in the franchise who was convinced that certain sidelined players had a hidden value. It is this hidden value that Beane and Brand went to use to build a winning team.

They shifted the focus of the game from pitching and batting to whether a player was simply able to get to first base, period. This philosophy is called sabermetrics. Without getting too much into detail, this system is able to identify players that get the job done, i.e. make it to base one, irrespective of their other qualities or inadequacies.

He had the vision that this system could beat the big boys, persistently pursued his goal and had the belief that he would get there. I am sure this was not an easy task at all for him – persuading the management and his team to follow his vision and to buy into a model that no one else had tried out before must have been very draining on him. His system didn't work out right away either. Constant changes and some fine tuning throughout the season gradually helped create the team that beat the record for most consecutive wins in the game's history.

Billy is a prime example that even when you are really down and your livelihood and reputation and future are at stake that you can come out as a winner by simply focusing on areas that you have control over. And if you do not know what it is that you have control over then ask yourself over and over again until you do.

Given what we can learn from Billy I would highly recommend everyone to watch the movie – you might find inspiration in it.

Basically, when it comes down to it, I did the exact same thing when I hit rock bottom two years ago – what are my skill sets and what is it that I know? By changing the frequencies that I was vibrating at the mind frame I was in and focusing on a future that I desire I was able to create the lifestyle I am enjoying today. If I can do it, I am sure you can, too.

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