1. When you start anything in life, when you first enter the court, people may or may not cheer for you.
Do your best anyway, don’t let what others think of you or their lack of support bring you down. It’s always nice to have people by your side. But sometimes, people will root for other people’s work, their ideas, you just gotta get over it and play your A game anyway.
2. Sometimes, life will be unfair.
You just have to suck it up, move on and not let it impact your performance. Sometimes, the chair umpires in your life will make the wrong call, and you will know it is wrong, but you won’t be able to change it. But there is something you will be able to do: you will be able to make a choice, sulk and ruin your game or accept it and not let it destroy your momentum.
3. If you are not good at something at first, practice, practice, practice till you get better.
Don’t give up. Just like tennis players with poor serves or poor backhands who become significantly better over time, so can you. Think you’re not good at math, sketching or presenting in public? Practice, give it everything you have and you will surprise yourself! All it takes is will power and effort to get better.
4. Your natural abilities and strengths can only get you so far.
You might serve very well, but other people might have a very strong forehand. But in the end, the person who wins is the person who uses his or her competitive strengths, but also works on the things he or she is not good at. The person who works hard to improve what is not good enough. The person who has grit, the perseverance to power through weaknesses.
5. Your body language right from the start of any project can have a big impact, not only on how your opponents perceive you, but also on your actual performance.
Right from the warm up stage, it’s easy to see who is confident, who is likely to win.
6. Your emotional intelligence is as important, if not more, than your technical skills.
A lot of tennis players on court lose not because they are technically not strong, but because they are unable to take the pressure, they are unable to regulate their emotions in that final moment when the stakes are high.
7. Never make excuses for losing.
There is nothing more off putting than a tennis player playing the blame game when he loses a match. There will be many times in life when you will not achieve your goals. Instead of complaining and blaming external things, accept what you did wrong, what was in your control and do better at it next time.
8. You are not going to remain No. 1 forever.
Hell, in all likelihood, you will never be no. 1 at anything in your life and there will be others who are better than you. So take the pressure off, do the best at whatever you do. All you can control is the effort you put in.
9. No matter how successful you become, treat others who work for you, the ball boys, the linesmen, your manager, your physio etc. with respect.
You might be at the centre of the stage, but there are others who work hard and contribute significantly to your success. So give them their due and treat them how you would like to be treated yourself.
10. And most importantly, enjoy what you do!
Smile when you fall, acknowledge when you win a point by chance, cheer for your opponent when he smashes that ball oh-so-well, and cry if you want to when you win. Believe in the power of your work and believe in the power of the game.