The illusion of being a “home run machine”, seeing through appearances in 2014, and being happy with what you have.
The first time I was quoted in Men’s Health, I thought it would be a home run.
I bought copies of the magazine for all my friends and prepared for the money and fans to come rolling in.
But I never made more than a couple hundred bucks writing for fitness magazines. And no one has ever told me, “I saw your article in Men’s Health.”
I did, however, get to put the Men’s Health logo on my website. (We call that a credibility indicator.) That was the trade, and it was a good one.
But getting in a magazine didn’t change my life, the way people may think. It just made things a little easier, a little better.
My home run turned out to be a base hit. So I went back up to bat.
When the rights to Built for Show were sold to Avery Publishing back in 2008, I thought it would be a home run.
I was going to be rich and famous and important.
But Avery only paid $56,000 1for the book, which was split in half with Lou Schuler, my uncredited co-author. (Since I was only 23, he was the designated “adult on the project.”)
After paying our agent, photographer, and other random people, we were left with about $20,000 each.
Not bad, but not incredibly lucrative either.
I paid off my credit card debt, spent the remaining money on a steak dinner, and wandered the aisles of Barnes and Noble hoping someone would recognize me.
My life got a little better and a little easier. But it wasn’t a home run; just another solid hit.
I’ve had a lot of base hits in the past few years, lots of things that made my life better but didn’t completely transform everything:
- When I accepted a job at T-Nation.com back in 2008.
- When I left that job in 2010.
- When I wrote and gave away the Hero Handbook.
- When I accepted a job at Precision Nutrition. (Which I still have and love.)
- When I got a two-part guest post on Tim Ferriss’s influential blog2
And now, after all these years of preparing for a home run and getting a base hit instead, I think that may be all there is.
Lots and lots of base hits with the illusion of a true home run — a life-altering, game-changing, money-and-fanfare-producing, instant-happiness-increasing hit — sprinkled in to keep you motivated and inspired.
And I kinda like that. Honestly, it’s a relief.
Because it means two important things:
1) Appearances aren’t always what they seem.
There are a lot of people out there — published authors, actors, entrepreneurs, internet-famous people, CEOs etc. — who look like they have everything made…but often struggle in some fundamental way.
I’m one of them.
Fortunately, I gave up long ago trying to maintain the illusion that I’m a home run machine.
It’s liberating. Anyone can get a base hit.
2) Being consistent with whatever you’re doing — getting lots of solid base hits — will make your life a little better and a little easier.
Which is all you can really ask for.
So to really just round out this whole baseball analogy thing, here’s what I’m gonna do in 2014:
- Step up to the plate.
- Swing for the fucking fences.
- Feel fortunate when I’m standing squarely on first base.
What I’m currently enjoying: Pairing cocktails with events. Like, instead of drinking champagne tonight (New Years Eve), I’m gonna make a French 75 instead.