Dearest Darling Friends,
On Saturday, we were relaxing in our home in Hyderabad watching the Australian Opens Finals.
I was pumped up and cheering Sabalenka from our drawing room much to the amusement of my darling wifey.
She got slightly alarmed when I disappointedly said, “Oh no. Not another unforced error! Come on Sabalenka! You can do better.”
With raised eyebrows, Bharathi (wifey) asked me, “What is an unforced error?”
I replied, “It is making a mistake when one could have done very well.”
She absentmindedly nodded her head, hmmmmed and got busy with her work.
In some time Sabalenka listened to my drawing room coaching instructions (100% unpaid), deservingly won the AO title, and I sat back satisfied.
In the frame of Bharathi’s questions, mixed with Sabalenka’s glorious game, I recollected reading an exceptional passage from the 1999 tennis book, Extraordinary Tennis for the Ordinary Tennis Player, where the author Simon Ramo broke down the difference between amateur and professional tennis:
- Amateur tennis is a ‘avoid losing’ game. 80% of points are lost on unforced errors. You win by avoiding errors and waiting for your opponent to make errors.
- Professional tennis is a ‘go for a winner’ game. 80% of points are won on incredible shots. You win by hitting incredible shots.
Doesn’t this extends beyond the tennis court into every area of our lives? Ever since I read this passage, it seems like I am seeing it everywhere.
I can’t stop thinking about this mental model.
Though Sabalenka has won, the question I am asking myself is…
- What type of game am I playing? Do I wish to succeed by avoiding mistakes or for playing beautifully?
I know the answer is obvious. I still want to chew of this question a little more till the answer becomes my default response to every situation and every opportunity.
What do you think? Do you see this playing out in your life too?
Let me know your thoughts my darling.