What is the Main Thing for You?

What is the Main Thing for You?
By Steven J. Callis

     On a trip to Kentucky a few years ago, I found the opportunity to tour the Louisville Slugger Museum and Factory. The 2-story high baseball bat at the entrance to the building was a sure sign that I was in for a treat. According to their website, the total weight of the bat is approximately 68,000 pounds. The hollow interior has a 30,000 gallon capacity. The bat is constructed of ASTM A36 carbon steel, 120 ft. long and 9 ft. diameter at the base; 3 ft. 6 in. diameter at the handle with a 6 ft. 6 in. diameter knob.
     After a brief introductory film, my group of about 20 persons was led on a guided tour through the factory where the bats are made. We saw ordinary people at their posts throughout the assembly area, performing their specific task in the process of creating a baseball bat. I laughed within myself as I realized these people do the same task day after day, a simple routine for them, and people like me pay to fascinatedly watch them run a piece of wood through a machine that has been carefully set to specific dimensions for that particular batch of bats.
     This company specializes in producing baseball bats. They have not branched out into hockey sticks or bolo paddles or canoe oars. Just baseball bats. Producing 5,000 bats daily in their peak season, and with 60% of major league players using the Louisville Slugger, they have found their niche. In recent years the company has branched out into making baseball gloves and gear, but the baseball bat continues to be their main focus.
     Interestingly, the company began as a woodworking shop, manufacturing primarily butter churns. About 12 years later, the founder’s son began making baseball bats for himself as a minor league player, and for some of his teammates. By 1923, the company was selling more bats than any other bat maker in the country.
     They put into practice a philosophy that would later be prescribed by Stephen Covey – the main thing is to keep the main thing the main thing. This company found their niche, then focused and perfected their craft. After manufacturing butter churns and bedposts and balusters, it was the baseball bat that proved to be their most marketable product.
     You and I can be good at several things, but discovering that one thing that seems to perfectly fit our abilities and resources and purpose is the consummate attainment. The main thing does not have to be the only thing, but we must not allow secondary pursuits to distract us from that which has become our driving force for direction in life. For most of us, that main thing involves leaving our mark of goodness on the lives of others and making a positive difference in our world – truly a worthy goal.

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