Self-discipline makes all the difference


In Year 2008’ Men’s Wimbledon final was one of the best clashes in the history of tennis. It lasted four hours and forty-eight minutes. Nadal was up in the first two sets, Federer, the grass court king, hit back by winning the next two, and the final set went down to the wire. In the end it was Nadal who won his first Wimbledon title.

The match was intense, with both players doing their utmost best, but the great thing was, it was done elegantly. No verbal abuses, no stares, just pure focus on doing better.

When the match started, the spectators may have been on either Nadal’s or Federer’s side, but by the time the match was over, they were all on the side of the amazing effort displayed by both Nadal and Federer. Calling them rivals will be wrong — the two are best players of tennis, playing to make each other better.

Nadal was trained by his uncle , Toni, in his native place in Spain. Nadal’s uncle was clear about one thing; it is inappropriate to throw tantrums, especially throwing the racket on the ground. His uncle made it clear to Nadal when he was four years old that if Nadal ever threw his racket in anger, he would stop teaching him tennis. Rackets are expensive and many cannot afford owning one. So, to break them was inappropriate. When you lose, you are responsible, not the rackets, the ball, or the wind.

We can all learn from the Nadal-Federer relationship. To compete means to bring out the best in oneself, and to respect the “opponent”.

By watching matches like the Nadal-Federer Wimbledon final, we can inspire ourselves to think and behave like them. While watching such matches on the TV, cheer yourself up by chanting affirmations that I will do the same, when I am faced with a similar situation. The mind works in mysterious ways, and if you were to chant I will do the same in my life while watching the match, you will create an anchoring feeling and an image in your mind, which you can then recall when you are really in a challenging situation. Once you recall the feeling, you will approach the challenge with renewed energy, like the great players, thus creating better responses to stimuli around.

Every great sports engagement or human endeavour can be anchored for later use in our lives. See good things done by others, anchor them in you mind to perform better and live great lives.