Tip: Sometimes you need to say something and other times you just need to point!


I don’t know how many of you are baseball fans, but it truly is a great sport. As you know, it is called the “national past-time”. The reason is because so many people go to a ball game and pass the time together. There have been many wonderful memories created between parents and children by taking them to a baseball game. I can still remember my father taking me and my friends to the old Ponce de Leon ballpark where we watched the Atlanta Crackers play baseball. This was years before the former Milwaukee Braves moved to Atlanta. We ate popcorn and peanuts and my father taught us how to fill out a score card, based on what was happening in the game. It brings back warm feelings just to think about those days. There are a lot of great memories there.

In more recent times, many of you may know that I worked with the Arizona Diamondbacks baseball team. I started working with them when they got a franchise in 1996. They went out on the field for their first season in 1997. Five years later they won the World Series and I still proudly, and gratefully, wear my World Series ring that I was awarded for working with that organization.

There is one particular aspect of baseball of which most people are unaware. I think it is fascinating and worth noticing. Not one person in a million knows this fact! When a batter hits the ball and it ends up going into foul territory, you will hear the umpire shout, “Foul ball!” However, if the ball is fair, the umpire will NOT shout, “Fair ball!” He does not say a word. He will simply point to the playing area of the field, indicating that the ball is in fair play. By yelling out, “Foul ball!” or “Fair ball!” in the stadium could create confusion. “Fair” and “Foul” can sound a lot alike, especially when there is a lot of background noise. If you hear the umpire yelling, you can be sure that he is saying, “Foul ball!” But, again, if the ball is very close to the foul line marker, but is in fair play, he will simply point to the playing area, getting everyone’s attention by indicating that the ball is “live and in play”. All you have to do is watch the umpire point to the playing area and you will know the ball is “fair” and in play. If he is not pointing, then you can be sure he will be yelling. You never have to wonder what he said. It always is a “foul ball”.

I thought about this not too long ago when I was in a shopping mall parking lot. I saw a young kid pull in and park in a handicap spot. He got out of his car and started toward the store. He obviously was not handicapped in any way. He either didn’t realize that the spot was reserved for handicapped people, or he deliberately parked there illegally. An older gentleman, who was standing nearby, watched the young teen-ager hop out of his car. I could tell that he was really upset that the young man was parking illegally in the handicap place. Rather than saying anything to the boy, the man walked over and pointed to down to the ground with his finger, indicating that it was a handicap place. The teenager’s eyes widened and he said, “Oh, no! I didn’t even see that! Thank you so much!” and the older man just continued to walk.

I thought that was so powerful. If the older man had said something verbally to the younger one, he might have embarrassed him. But, all the older gentleman did was point to the handicap sign on the ground with a very strong pointed finger. It was very easy to see that he was trying to show something because all he did was point. His actions spoke louder than any words. Those of us who were standing around instantly knew what he was pointing to. The young man immediately moved his car and again, thanked the older gentleman for pointing it out to him.

I couldn’t help but think how valuable it is in life to NOT have to say something about everything. Sometimes we just need to point. We might just need to point to our watch to remind everyone what time it is. We may need to point to a direction sign that tells which way to go; perhaps we need to point to a sign that shows us the speed limit; in a store we could simply point to a sign that shows us how much a product costs; or maybe we just need to point to a sign in the grocery store that reminds people that the sign above the express lane says “15 items” and it doesn’t mean 25 items!

Think about it for a minute. Doesn’t it help you when you are in the store and someone simply points to what you are looking for on the shelf? I believe that simply pointing can be a powerful tool! I don’t know about you, but I would rather someone “point me” in the right direction than lecture me any day!

I am not exactly sure how you will be able to apply this Tip, but I have a feeling that this is going to come in handy real soon. You are going to be in a situation in which you are dying to say something and then you will realize, “Wait a minute! There is something more powerful than saying something right now. All I have to do is simply point and it will make” (yes, you guessed it) “it will make the point!”

The next time you are at a baseball game, watch this phenomenon take place. As the game goes along, it is always the pattern they follow because it eliminates confusion and makes everything work better. I believe it works in life, too!

Tip: Sometimes you need to say something and other times you just need to point!

Have a great week! God bless you!

Dr. Robert A. Rohm

Dr. Robert A. Rohm, Ph.D.

Dr. Robert A. Rohm, Ph.D.

Top selling author and speaker, Robert Rohm Ph.D. is founder of Personality Insights Inc. and The Robert Rohm Co. As you will see, Dr. Rohm specializes in helping people better understand themselves and others.