What The Inner Game of Tennis Taught Me and It's Crazy Powerful
WHAT THE BOOK, THE INNER GAME OF TENNIS IS TEACHING ME AND IT’S CRAZY POWERFUL
Your time is limited, so don’t waste it living someone else’s life. Don’t be trapped by dogma — which is living with the results of other people’s thinking. Don’t let the noise of others’ opinions drown out your own inner voice. And most important, have the courage to follow your heart and intuition. — Steve Jobs
Yesterday I began reading a classic book titled, The Inner Game of Tennis. I have very little interest in tennis, however, this book is about so much more. You know those voices you hear every day? Those inner voices? These are the voices which truly direct your life. This is what this book is really about.
This book is teaching me to perk up my ears to these inner voices. Instead of thinking, “why am I not better at this?” My ears are listening to something deeper. Something I know to be true. That yes, greatness is inside of me. I can do all things. I have all of the tools needed to accomplish whatever I put my mind to.
But how do you switch these voices right?
Even for me, I’m wondering how to change my ears to hear the good, rather than the bad? So yes, this is what my attention is fixed upon and I’m actively learning. (Check out yesterday’s post about how I “flex” my mental muscles every day).
The quote above from Steve Jobs hits this idea quite well. It’s the idea of understanding our input to determine our output. For example, if your primary inputs are social media and the opinion of others, your output will be the same. You will always be searching to follow someone else’s path and not your own. Where your focus, is where you will go right?
But, what about switching these voices? How do you do that?
One of the biggest takeaways is coaching. When you’re an athlete, or in this case, a tennis player, you have a coach. The coach is responsible for helping you improve to reach the next level right? You practice and practice, and the coach is there to guide you toward improvement.
However, in most cases, the athlete already is aware of what they need to do to improve. It’s a battle in their mind of getting the job done. From my own experience, I fully understand this battle. As a former athlete, there were plenty of times where my coach would tell me to, “just have fun” or “get out of your head.” These were times when my performance was affected because I was playing the game in my head and not “just playing the game.”
So, what about now? What about people like you and me who are not athletes? I think it first starts with the idea that we still need a coach. As I’ve mentioned before, this is one of my biggest regrets. How could I nearly be 40 years old and not aggressively invested in coaching? Why would I not want to live life out of my heart more, and not out of my head, right?
Know who you are and stay true to it. Have a point of view, keep your head down when noise tries to drown out your inner voice, and whatever you do, keep pushing. — Christina Tosi
We know now coaching is a big part of your success, but how do we start to hear that inner voice? How do we get quiet enough and hear what our intuition is trying to tell us?
Most of the time when I try and be “still,” it seems the whole world gets louder. My phone seems to buzz more. I get more interested in searching online or looking at social media. Whenerver I try to be still, nothing seems to work, except for when I do this.
The best time for me to be still is when I cycle. I get on my bike and ride. I listen to a podcast or music and do my best to listen. I am either listening for inspirational ideas or just listening to my inner voice tell me about me.
When I was younger, playing sports, this voice was more active. I can remember playing in a game and hearing that voice. It sounded like this, “you got this Anthony, this is your play. Just do your thing, it’s all good.”
When I hear my inner voice it’s soothing. It’s quiet, but confident. It’s not trying to sell me anything. It’s basically, reminding me to have fun and enjoy the moment.
My inner voice will sound different than yours. Since I battle with putting too much pressure on myself, my “inner voice” reminds me to “just chill and relax.” Ha! I also have issues with being patient. I want things to happen years too early. I get eager. I feel rushed or that I’ve missed the boat. The reality is, I haven’t, I just need to listen to that inner voice again. I need to let patience have it’s perfect work.
Before you head out into your day, let this quote from the book inspire you. The goal is to focus on what is happening right now, not on where it might be or how you’ll respond to it.”
‘Be anxious for nothing, but in everything by prayer and supplication, with thanksgiving, let your requests be made known to God; and the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and minds through Christ Jesus.’ Philippians 4:6–7
I’m hardly a pro in this area, but I just can’t shake how much it can change your life. I know it’s true and thirsty to get more of it. I challenge you to give it a try and see what you learn.
always be learning. Coach Anthony