Monday, August 1, 2016

Tennis Topic of the Day: Conscious Tennis - Three Ultimate Keys

Credit and Courtesy: 
"Conscious Golf: The three secrets of success in golf, business and life", (Rodale: St. Martin's Press, 2003) (160 Pages)
-- Gay Hendricks, Ph.D., psychologist, author and motivational speaker

This short yet superb book offers penetrating insight and inspiration into the worlds of golf, business and life. Motivational speaker and author Gay Hendricks unlocks what he sees as three secrets to elevating performance and satisfaction --- whether playing golf, doing business or pursuing life. And what about tennis? Amazingly, you can substitute the word "tennis" for "golf" in his philosophy and benefit from exactly the same wisdom. In this blog post, I have done just that --- adapting Hendricks's ideas to the game we all love: tennis. Enjoy. -- Gary Bala

Blog: Conscious Tennis - Three ultimate keys

Tennis is the greatest game of all, and tennis players are the luckiest people on earth. If you play tennis, you are blessed with the rarest of gifts: to walk in beauty, to enjoy companionship and friends, and to discover the true essence of living with every swing. What more could we ask of any game?

Tennis gives us two great gifts: insight and transcendence. We reveal who we are as we play the game -- with every swing of the racket we have the chance to ascend to new heights of the person we wish to become. 

First key: Focus on task completion
Focus on finishing your task before looking up about the outcome and what's next. 

In tennis, the focus is on the ball and completion of the stroke before looking up. In business and life, it's about focus on completing the assignment or the project at hand before putting energy into something else. Completed focus means you avoid shifting your attention before moving on and losing energy. 

Ask yourself: Did I complete the task impeccably and elegantly? If so, the job will take care of itself. Why is task completion so critical? Because completion frees up energy. Because we cannot control outcomes, but we can control completing a specific task or technique. 

What is the biggest and most fundamental mistake in tennis? Answer: Peeking to see where the shot went before you've completed hitting it. The biggest fundamental mistake in life is failing to finish one thing before going on to the next. Human beings feel good when we complete things; we don't, when we don't. With every tennis swing and with every moment of life, we face the same choice: finish the task at hand impeccably, or jump ahead prematurely to peek at the result. 

Second key: Swing it
Swing freely, feel the flow and have fun. 

What is a swing? A swing is a "rhythmic movement back and forth" --- and the good feeling and flow emanating from it. In tennis, it's not about striking the ball; it's all about the swing and putting the ball into the flow of the swing. Life itself is a swing back and forth between having a good time and not having a good time; between pain and pleasure; between victories and misfortunes. 

The three essential questions to ask yourself in tennis, business or life are: Is it easy? Does it feel good? It is it fun? If it's not feeling easy or good or fun, it's not likely to work out. 

Third key: Your energy, motion and intention create the final outcome
The third and final key is supreme. It unlocks the cosmic power of the universe --- and powers your ultimate elegant triumph. 

It's about relationships --- to the ball, to the activity at hand, or to the moment. It enables us to achieve a supremely calm and reflective moment. For example, as it applies to tennis, it says to us that there is no bad tennis shot. Every shot in tennis simply goes where it is supposed to go, given how it was hit. Whether our shots are "bad" or "good" is merely a made-up concept we've invented to keep from having fun all the time. Thus, if we are sufficiently open to learning, we can learn from every shot, every deal in business, every moment of life. 

In a primordial sense, the ball and the court are forever fixed at a singular point in the space-time universe. It just sits there and it doesn't go anywhere. The ball only moves, travels and spins in response to the energy, motion and intention applied to it by us --- without morality, judgment or emotion. It is we who ultimately create and infuse the tennis ball with the outcome. 

Thus, at every moment, we have the opportunity to be in a relationship with whatever is occurring. If we are truly in a relationship with the ball, we just want to know where it's going and how it got there. We won't impose our values or notions of where the ball should go or how, onto it. We simply learn from it. There's always only something to learn. Substitute the ball in tennis for any project in business or any moment in life. 

The third key then is that we create our own destiny if, without illusion or blame, we continuously learn and apply ourselves to what is at hand.