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What We Can All Learn from Brad Pitt and “Moneyball”

By Jim Gillespie | May 9, 2012

About 45 days ago I watched the Academy Award-nominated movie "Moneyball", starring Brad Pitt, and I was completely mesmerized by the movie. I was so mesmerized, in fact, that I’ve watched the movie three more times since then.

To me the movie is about redemption, and let’s face it, there are a lot of brokers looking for redemption right now. They’ve been dealing with a market that really stinks when compared with how it was maybe 5-6 years ago, and they want redemption.

Brad Pitt plays a character named Billy Beane in the movie, who in real life was touted as being a "can’t miss" prospect for Major League Baseball. He was offered a big signing bonus to turn down the scholarship he had been offered to go to Stanford, and he accepted the big signing bonus, becoming a professional baseball player right out of high school. But he never became a successful Major League Baseball player, and this continually haunts him throughout the movie.

But he became a successful General Manager of a Major League Baseball team, and he implemented a revolutionary approach to the game to achieve that success…becoming massively ridiculed for this approach until it finally produced absolutely incredible results for the team.

At the end of the movie his success brought him an offer to become the General Manager for the Boston Red Sox…for $12,500,000.00. Should he take the money, move all the way across the country, and become completely separated from his young daughter…who he loved dearly? Or was his life now coming full circle once again, and he now had the chance to make the right decision around going for the money …or not?

We all have moments in our lives that define who we are as human beings, and it’s been my experience that whenever I listen to my intuition, and let it guide me through my decision making, things always turn out the best for me. They may not look like they’re turning out the best for me immediately, but in the end, they always turn out the best for me.

Here’s one story I experienced years ago that the movie really reconnected me with, that I’m going to share with you…

When I was a kid in eighth grade, I was the quarterback on our football team, and I had dreams of one day playing professional football. During our final game of the season, we lost to the team that became the state champions, and we definitely knew that we were one of the best teams in the state.

Now flash forward to beginning high school the very next year, recognizing how violent all the contact was now becoming in the sport at this level, and my gut-level intuition now telling me that it was time to leave the game behind.  I knew, even at that time, about the long-term effects that were being observed in the bodies of the men who had played football their entire lives.

I left the football team and began focusing on the other sport that I was very solid at…basketball…but I was quickly reminded of how when you know you’ve made the right decision, other people still might not like that decision…

Soon after I left the football team, I saw a friend’s mother at school and I said "Hello" to her. Her son had been our star running back on the team the year before, and he was now playing on the high school football team. The mother was very disappointed that I had decided not to play the game anymore, and when I spoke to her she turned, looked at me and said, "I’ve decided to never speak to you again."

But in talking with other friends of mine who continued playing football for their four years in high school, I still know today that I made the right decision. They tell me of the horrible pain they still experience from their injuries from playing football in high school, the stiffness, and the surgeries they’ve been through to try to deal with the situation. One of my old friends who played on that final team that I played on, who’s the son of a former NFL head coach, turned down multiple scholarships from major universities in order to leave the sport behind him, too, but at the end of high school, not at the beginning of it. He’s still in great pain as a result of the injuries he sustained from the game in high school, and he’s told me the names of some of the greatest players in NFL history, who have all refused to let their own sons play football.

In addition to this story, the movie "Moneyball" reconnected me with many other decisions that I’d made in my life, too. In 1990, I became the first broker anyone had ever seen in my territory utilizing a personal computer and contact management software. I got teased for it, but I knew where everything was headed. The brokers who insisted that wrapping rubber bands around their business cards and their index cards…was still all that was really necessary, are now utilizing contact management software within their own brokerage businesses. When I was watching "Moneyball", there were scenes where baseball veterans were arguing with Brad Pitt about his game plan for success, ridiculing him for it, and it reminded me of exactly what these brokers were saying about utilizing computers within their own businesses back in 1990.

My point in telling you all of this, is that there’s an intuitive side within you that always knows what the best decision is for you. Your mind will jump in sometimes and lock antlers with that intuitive side, telling you something very different, but I’ve found that throughout my life, listening to that intuitive side has always produced the best results for me. Sometimes you just need to do what you know is the right thing to do, even when other people are telling you otherwise.

So right now, when you listen to that intuitive side of you, what is it telling you to do? What is it telling you to do in your business, and in your personal life, to live the life that you’ve always imagined?

Listen to that intuitive side of you, and act on it.

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