Staying Cool Wins the Game
Wimbledon, the prestigious annual tennis competition in London, is upon us – grass courts, tennis whites and champagne, strawberries and cream abound. Every player is giving their utmost best to this traditional and most respected tournament. Yet it is not the glamour and high tech racquets and techniques that will win the game. More important is the mental attitude. Staying calm, confident and composed goes a long way towards helping win the match.
One of the reasons that Roger Federer is such an excellent player is because he is a ‘gentleman’ on court. He is able to contain his emotions despite the pressures and tensions. Even when he loses, he does so with a smile. He may have a great collection of medals and trophies, but his real greatness lies in his inner self-mastery.
Seeded 29th, Fabio Fognini is a fantastic player, yet has been fined big money at Wimbledon on a number of occasions due to ‘unsportsmanlike’ behavior. The famous John McEnroe had many outbreaks of yelling and abuse on court, which did not do him any favours! And the sometimes not-so-serene Serena Williams, a tennis legend, has also cracked under pressure and been fined for bad behavior.
I have seen players lose their game as soon as they lose their tempers. When their heads are crowded with anger and tension, they also lose focus and concentration and begin to make errors.
Focus and concentration are important in anything we want to win at, not just tennis. Staying calm is the secret. That means managing our thoughts, and most of all staying positive. The game is never over ‘til the end. And especially in tennis we have seen how it can turn around quite easily.
This is also the case with anything we want to accomplish in our lives. The game of life is not over ‘til the end. That means that, no matter how many time we may have lost, we can also ‘win’ at anytime.
Stay positive and keep a cool head, and that way success is more likely to come to us. Anger, upset and confusion are more likely to drive it away. You may not be able to control your ‘opponent’ – a problem or a difficult situation – yet we can control ourselves. Making effort to master the mind is the greatest battle. If we win that, then we have won the game. No matter what the circumstances, they will eventually turn around to our advantage if we maintain our self-mastery.
A husband of one of my friends used to play to high stakes on the stock market. One day he lost 400,000 dollars in a matter of minutes, and much to my surprise, he laughed. When questioned, he explained that, in order to be a good winner, you need to be a good loser! I have never forgotten that. I don’t believe I will ever be one who bets on the stock market, but that was a lesson in life for me.
Being a good loser means that you never take anything too seriously, you know that life will bring its ups as well as downs, and you have a belief that all things in life come to us (or leave us) for a good reason. This way we can remain joyful in times of success, and positive and hopeful even in the not-so-good times.
May the best man and woman win at Wimbledon, and likewise may the best of ourselves emerge in any situation! We have to fight our own inner battles, one point at a time. Play the ‘inner game’ and focus on winning each point by responding to life’s challenges with dignity, courage and optimism. As you win, one point at a time, you win the game, then win the match!
It’s time… to watch the scoreboard. Stay cool, calm and composed to win the game of life!
© ‘It’s Time…’ by Aruna Ladva, BK Publications London, UK