The effort we make to achieve our goals can severely be hindered by the sub conscious choices we make every day. From the smallest of habits to unknowingly negative thoughts, these things prepare us for failure even when we are working hard to succeed.
When I was around 18 or 19 my coach in Arizona made Shikha and I write down some of the things we may do or think that prepare us for failure. The saddest part about this list, is that 99% of these habits and ways of thinking were put upon us and we had no control over them. Still, this does not mean we were not responsible, but looking back, its overwhelming to reflect on how little control I had over my own habits and how much the influence of another effected my thoughts.
7 Ways I set myself up for failure as a pro tennis player:
1. Comparing myself to other players and not understanding why they were winning.
If you ready any article on ways successful people think, you find again and again that they do not compare themselves to others. Especially not in confusion or envy.
2. Taking a bathroom break when I was down in a match.
My coach hated this one. When you are down, if you look for excuses to give yourself a break, how do you expect to overcome a deficit?
3. Defending myself with an arsenal of excuses to avoid getting in trouble.
Taking responsibility for messing up is the best way to own your mistakes and move past them.
4. Playing pro-ams and staying in housing to save money.
If you don’t think that you are going to win the tournament and be able to afford the hotel stay, then why even compete? Buffering your self with “safe”options will only make you think like a loser.
5. Not being organised in practices because I “didn’t know what to do.” And, indecisiveness in tournament schedules and travel bookings.
If you don’t know how to prepare for battle, how do you expect to compete? if you don’t know how to prepare, how can you think about winning?
6. Changing ideas and beliefs every week, changing my diet and getting coached by so many different coaches.
This led to having too much information and no belief. It reminds me of a famous quote If you don’t stand for something, you will fall for everything.” This way of thinking was one of the most frustrating things for me in my tennis career. Had I had the opportunity to trust in one coach/idea/process fully, it would have given me a lot of mental calm.
7. Over training, not resting and sleeping late.
We all know that quality always beats quantity. In an effort to feel like I was working hard, I was actually hurting my improvement. Too much busy activity without quality leads to frustration.
Now, at 27 I have plunged in to the business world. My competitiveness and desire to succeed are even stronger than they were in tennis. I am fortunate to be able to apply the mistakes I made in tennis and learn from them. Though I do see similar patterns of negative thinking and habits hinder me. For example, I #1, #2, #7. I am happy to see how I have reduced #6 significantly because I am learning to trust myself and the path I am on.
I hope this can help you on the journey to your success.