I have enjoyed playing tennis since my youth. It is a great game of physical ability and mental strategy—on that can be played well into our golden years. Over the years, I have realized how very similar the game of tennis is to game of life. Here is what I have learned:
- How we play the game is everything. Tennis is one of those games that the final score may not really reflect the level of play. Although the score may not show how close each game was, your character was built and so was your confidence. By consistently hitting the balls back, determining to stay in the game no matter what and staying with it to the very end is a win of itself.
- We can’t play alone. Although you can hit a tennis ball against the wall, it isn’t near as fun as playing with someone else. Don’t isolate yourself.
- We need the right equipment. You can’t play tennis with a baseball bat. The most expensive gear isn’t always the best, so be sure to match your needs to the proper equipment.
- Don’t play with mean people and choose your partner wisely. “Mean people do suck,” as the bumper sticker says. Life is way too short to be surrounded by grumps. Select the right partner, and you will soar. Pair up with a turkey, and you will spiral down. Don’t waste energy on trying to make miserable people happy. Instead, take those positive people and invest in them.
- Leave the temper tantrums to John McEnroe. When things don’t go your way, don’t explode. You lose face and expend priceless energy. No one is impressed with emotional outbursts. If you must release the tension, hit a tennis ball, just not directly at someone!
- Double faults happen. Even with the best strategy and execution of a plan, things can go wrong. Anytime people are involved (when are they not?), errors can happen. Understand this principle and save yourself a lot of grief. Focus on the solution rather than the challenge and look for ways to prevent it in the future. Beating one’s self up over a bad shot just guarantees that worse shots will come.
- Play hard! If you aren’t going to give it your best, then why bother? Keep your eye on the ball at all times, be flexible, have a firm grip and swing with purpose. Here’s to being a champion! Tennis anyone?