Whenever Alla and I would watch tennis matches and a crucial point keeps going back and forth from deuce to advantage, Alla would give her commentary which would range from-
“Player X is too tense. This has always been her problem, she can’t close matches.” “Both of them are nervous. One’s battling for her first finals, the other a world record.”
What would really stand out from all her commentaries is this -
“Tennis is a match between you and yourself. You’re playing against yourself.”
When she says this, I usually say nothing. It’s not that I don’t understand the sentiment, it’s just I haven’t fully grasped it up until now.
When we strive for excellence, for something more, for a better version of us, for growth - it’s never about what the people surrounding us would say, it’s about what you would say to yourself.
There would always be opinions. There would always be resources you can digest. There would always be advice.
What you choose to hear and understand is all you. What you choose to accept and challenge is all you. What you choose to do next is all you.
In everything we do, we are playing against ourselves. It’s you against yourself. Who would you allow to win?