Location : A bus somewhere between Fort Myers and Tampa, Florida.

Each week I receive a few emails, phone calls, text messages, etc. from people who have felt a connection with an article that relates to their life. It is extremely humbling, yet a feeling of excitement because it reminds me of the struggles I have faced to get to the place I am today.

I didn't make my Little League All-Star team. I've never had great natural talent. I didn't play on any elite travel ball teams. I wasn't offered a scholarship to play Division I or II baseball after high school. I was offered an academic scholarship to the University of Redlands with no guarantee to play. I was told by a national college recruiting agency that I wasn't good enough to play at the Division I level.

So why have I made it this far? Why am I playing professional baseball when literally thousands of players were better than I was in middle school, high school and college? I've spent the past 15 years as an underdog so why am I still playing? Why am I on a bus sitting next to some of the best major league players in the game today?

Simple. Work ethic and luck.

What is work ethic?

"Work ethic is hard work combined with discipline and direction." -- Anonymous

What is luck? "Luck is what happens when preparation meets opportunity." -- Seneca

I repeat these quotes to myself each and every day as a reminder of how I got to where I am. I truly believe that if someone is willing to apply their work ethic to a goal, then anything is achievable.

This isn't just applicable to a motor skill. Hard work, discipline and direction are required to be successful at anything. Whether you want to be successful in school, as a parent to your children or running a Fortune 500 company, these principles hold true.

Over the off-season I read a variety of books. Two that I really enjoyed were "Outliers" by Malcolm Gladwell and "The Talent Code" by Daniel Coyle. Both books gave insight as to why people are successful in a wide range of fields. The common theme that both authors discussed is the relentless amount of hard work and dedication it takes to be successful. I strongly encourage you to read either of these books.

No matter who you are or what your goal is, it takes a tremendous amount of hard work and focus to achieve at any level. Setting attainable goals, achieving them, then resetting them even higher is the only way to be successful.

Work ethic is how I have become who I am today as a pitcher, and a student, but most importantly as a man.

McCarthy is a former CSUB pitcher who now plays in the Boston Red Sox minor league organization. His column runs Sundays throughout the baseball season. He can be reached at: mmccarthybaseball@gmail.com