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One of Japan's greatest professional baseball players, Shigeo Nagashima of the Yomiuri Giants, could always be counted on to come through when his team needed him. Asked the secret of his batting, he replied, "When I know I've got to hit that ball or we're going to lose, I tell myself I can do it. I picture myself hitting a home run and I do not think of anything else. Not for an instant do I even consider the possibility that I might miss." He has practiced so hard that there's no reason he should fail. When we have this kind of confidence, we can get through the worst of times. Nagashima worked hard to perfect his batting technique. I know this because some of his former teammates often visited me and told stories of how hard he practiced.

Change moves in whatever direction we wish it to be.

The more we hope for the best, the more likely it is that things will go well. If we want good results, there is no point in fretting over what might go wrong. This is the meaning of a positive attitude.

Kiyoshi Nakahata was one of the Yomiuri Giants' best batters. Once when he was working out, Nagashima--then manager of Yomiuri Giants--strolled over and asked him how he was doing. "So-so," Nakahata replied. "That's no good," said Nagashima. "You must tell yourself you're in tip-top shape." From then on Nakahata made it a habit always to say he was in tip-top shape. He said it so often that he became known as the "tip-top man." The fact is, he really did get into good shape around that time, becoming one of the team's most valuable players.

There is no need to worry about whether good deeds will lead to good results. Virtue is acquired by constant effort. Do not misunderstand me: worry is unnecessary, but caring and consideration are important. Consider others, but do not fret over them. Do the best you can and accept the outcome as the response of the heavens to your efforts. This is what it means to leave everything up to them.

Nikkyo Niwano

Buddhism for Everyday Life

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