Many of you may remember Yogi Berra. He was the catcher for the New York Yankees baseball team back in the 1950’s and ‘60’s. He has been credited with many, many famous sayings. Probably the most popular one is, “When you come to a fork in the road, take it!”
Here are a few other “Yogi-isms” that I have enjoyed over the years:
- “Baseball is 90 percent mental. The other half is physical.”
- “You can’t think and hit at the same time.”
- “Wherever you go, there you are.”
- “It’s deja-vu all over again.”
- “You can observe a lot just by watching.”
- “Never answer an anonymous letter.”
- “Nobody goes there anymore. It’s too crowded.”
- “It ain’t over ’til it’s over.”
- “The future ain’t what it used to be.”
- “If you don’t go to other people’s funerals, they won’t come to yours.”
- “If you can’t imitate him, don’t copy him.”
- “I never said most of the things I said.”
- And my all-time favorite: as Mickey Mantle was rounding the bases a second time after hitting two home runs in the same game, one right-handed and the other left-handed – one Yankee teammate in the dugout commented, “Mantle is so great!” Yogi responded, “Well he ought to be…he’s amphibious!”
We lost Yogi a while back at 90 years of age of natural causes. He lived a long and influential life in the world of baseball. While Yogi was one of the most humorous people who has ever lived, he is also the person I think of when I think about being innocent. Recently I heard someone share a story about Yogi that reminded me of just how innocent-minded a person really can be.
In the late 1960’s someone started a strange phenomenon called “streaking.” For those of you who may be too young to remember what a “streaker” was, let me explain. Basically, it was a person who would run completely naked across an athletic field right in the middle of a game. They could be seen by all of the fans, as well as the nation if the ballgame was being televised. It created quite a stir, as you can imagine.
Because they could get into serious trouble for their activity, the streakers often put a bag over their head so no one would know their identity. When Yogi got home from one particular game, he told his wife that someone had jumped out of the stands completely naked, except for the bag over their head, and ran across the field interrupting the game. His wife asked him, “Was it a male or a female?” Yogi responded, “How should I know? They had a bag over their head!” Now that is what I call being innocent!
I believe a good approach in any given situation is from a standpoint of innocence, approaching each situation with a simple, openminded heart. If you find that there is not a spirit of teamwork and cooperation being offered back to you, then perhaps you should become more wary of what is taking place. Start with people then move to task.
Most of you know that I teach the DISC Model of Human Behavior. Research indicates that 65% of the general population is more people-oriented, while 35% of the population is more task-oriented. That means that two-thirds of the time we should approach individuals with a relationship in mind, while only one-third of the time approaching an individual with a task as our focus. Both are important, but both are very different.
I have discovered that statistically it may be easier to make the necessary adjustment if we approach people from a relationship aspect even if they are more focused on a task at hand. However, it is not as easy to make the adjustment if we have approached a person from a task-oriented perspective before establishing a relationship with them. In that case, they may feel offended, used or abused. The whole attitude of establishing relationships with an innocent approach and a heart-felt intent is much more effective in the long run.
I do not mean to imply that we should go through life with blindfolds on, simply letting everyone we meet take advantage of us or run over us. I just think it is very important to approach people with a genuine innocence about us (sort of like Yogi Berra) that communicates that we do not think they are “out to get us.” Most situations are not personal in nature. They are just the events of life that happen to all of us along the way.
It has been my experience that if I approach people with a genuine, sincere heart of love, appreciation and gratitude for all they have done in the past, or all they are trying to do in the present time, that is the best way to build healthy relationships and the best way to build a good life. If we plant good seeds, we will reap a good crop.
I have found this to work for me and I am sure you will find the same.
Tip: Be innocent!
Have a great week! God bless you!
Dr. Robert A. Rohm