First, let’s define a slump as understood by society:  The word ‘slump’ is a negative expression and generally is associated with a person’s current string of failures. 

For example, if you are a fisherman, it’s when you don’t catch a fish more than 1 outing in a row!  To a baseball player, it’s when you don’t get a hit for a long time-maybe 4 games in a row.  To a wide receiver, it’s when you drop 3 balls in a row.  For a Coach it’s when you lose more games than you did last year.  For a young man, it’s when you get turned down by girls more than 3 times in a row.  For a young lady, it’s when you have a bad hair day 2 times in a week-You get the picture.  So basically, when you get in a slump, ‘you’ start doubting who you are and you lose self-confidence!

So, to maintain self-confidence you need to remember that who you are and how you think about yourself is something that should not be dependent upon the outcomes of the events in which you participate.  Although there are plenty of people out there that will try to make you think that the outcome is ‘you’.

I love this quote by Yogi Berra:  "Slump? I ain't in no slump... I just ain't hitting." 

This is a perfect example of Yogi separating himself from some classification that would label him as currently ‘bad’—even though it’s assumed that a slump is only for a period of time and the person eventually climbs out of the slump.  Yogi wasn’t going to allow him to think of himself as ‘bad’—he “just ain’t hitting!”

All of us have periods of times in our lives when we “just ain’t hitting”.  During those times, we need to keep working, keep swinging, and keep moving forward on our day’s journey.  Don’t park along the side of the road and allow our self-concept (how we think of our self) to change or start doubting who we are just because “we ain’t hitting”—we open ourselves up to misperceptions and this can lead us to despair. 

So to avoid the ‘slump’ you remember that the real ‘you’ is being demonstrated by the fact that you keep swinging-and you don’t change your self-concept because you “just ain’t hitting”.   The decisions or actions (heck of a curve ball) will influence an outcome (the loss of a game) but it is different than ‘you’ the person.  The real ‘you’ is demonstrated by the level of participation (keep swinging) and dedication that you make to an effort.  Try your best, work hard, help others, seek out those in need and you will find happiness and joy.

And as that day ends, you take the learning’s from the day and apply them to the next day to help you to work harder, work smarter, be more perceptive, be kinder, laugh more, be more observant, etc. 

This is the beauty of life!  There are always opportunities on your journey to improve and increase your confidence.  What’s interesting is the more you focus on helping out others along the way, you will have greater insights into your life and start to see the real ‘you’.  Acts of kindness, helping others, working hard and sharing your ice cream all help you feel better about yourself!

Note:  And just before your next ‘at bat’, there will always be those people sitting on the side of the road of your current day’s journey, making observations (not helping-just criticizing) that remind you that you haven’t got a hit in 4 games and will attempt to classify you as one that is in a slump—your response:  “I just ain’t hitting” (Thanks Yogi!!) and just keep moving forward on your journey!  Smiling-because you know you are going to just keep swinging!

The best is yet to come!
Does it matter whether you are a pessimist or an optimist?  Is it necessary to 'hope'?  Do you really have to think positive for people to like you?  Should other people's decisions impact your attitude?

Life is a lot like fishing-- You are just not going to catch a fish with every cast-yet, but you should prepare, hope and be ready on every cast!  There are times when the fish will strike immediately when the fly hits the water—other casts, the fish may strike right at the end of the cast when you are just about ready to bring in the line and cast again.  If you are not ready when the fish strikes or because you think they won’t, you won’t be ready and they will spit out the fly and swim away and another opportunity is missed.

There are times when the fish are there and jumping all around but not striking your fly—so you need to change flies.  There are times when you won’t see any fish and suddenly they strike.  You can have a number of strikes within minutes—other times you won’t have any strikes for hours.  Sometimes your prettiest cast won’t get a strike—other times you may accidently catch a fish by dragging your line behind you—which is very rare.  The more skilled you are as a fisherman, the quicker you are about deciding when to change flies or when to go to another spot—but no matter how good you are you can’t make the fish strike—it’s their decision.

So, as with life, who you are and how you feel about life is something you can control.  You can’t control the decisions of others.  Those decisions may disappoint you, however, don't let the decisions of others determine how you feel about yourself, again focus on what you can control—and don’t get hung up on what others decide to do.  Focus on your decisions and learn to hope for good outcomes.  Whether you are a father, mother, son or daughter you have a purpose.  You need to find that purpose, embrace it and enjoy it.

Having a positive outlook or hoping for good outcomes won't prevent days when the fish won’t strike—but you smile and appreciate the 'opposition' and be better for it.  Appreciate the 'wildlife and the other beauties' because your self-confidence and esteem is not determined by events you don’t control—it’s about how you participate in those events or disappointments and your attitude WHILE the fish aren’t striking—that’s what you control and that's what others see!

In dealing with people and relationships, you can't control their decisions nor do you control their perceptions.  Your attitude and approach to life is seen and felt by others.  You leave impressions with every interaction.  Since each impression you leave with a person is 'real' to them, the impact of that perception becomes a reality.  If that perception is negative, it is a weed in your garden that will need to be dealt with at some time. Choosing not to deal with the weed causes the weed to grow and impact the other good things going on in your garden!

Always approach every cast with passion and excitement—because the fish might choose to strike and when they don't, it's ok!  There's always next time!  

The best is yet to come!