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Back when Joe Garagiola was a catcher in the major leagues, he had a young pitcher out on the mound who had just come up from the team’s farm club. It was his first time ever to pitch in the majors. The first two batters he faced had both gotten hits, and now were on second and third base. The next batter up was none other than Cardinal slugger Stan Musial.

Garagiola, the veteran, knew it was a critical situation, but he was ready to go to work. He squatted down behind home plate and flashed the signal for a fastball. The young pitcher shook his head to indicate that was not the pitch he wanted to throw. So Garagiola signaled for a curve ball. Again the youngster shook his head, indicating that wasn’t what he wanted to throw, either. He tried for a slider and then a change-up, both with the same results. Nothing seemed to suit the young rookie.

So Garagiola called time out and ran out to the mound. "I’ve called for every pitch in the book," he said, "and you’ve shaken them all off. What is it you want to throw?" The young pitcher turned to Garagiola with a look of fright in his eyes and said, "Nothin’, Joe. Nothin’ at all. I just want to hold onto the ball as long as I can!"

Well, we don’t have to be major league pitchers, do we, to know what it means to be frightened? That’s especially so when the nature of that fear is rooted in the prospect of failure.

SOURCE: Tom Rothhaar,Light of the Canyon U.MC. in Anaheim Hills, CA. as quoted in "New Year’s Resolutions: Failing to Succeed."

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