Fishers High School

Champions 101 Friday Message - MUST BE PRESENT TO WIN

By Rob Seymour | Jun 28, 2024 11:16 AM

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MUST BE PRESENT TO WIN This spring, tennis legend Roger Federer delivered the commencement address for the graduates at Dartmouth College. Federer shared some of the valuable lessons he learned from playing the game at the highest level. As always, there’s a lot we can learn from those we consider champions, and a lot we can apply to our pursuit of success, on the playing field and in life beyond it. Of all the insights Federer shared, the idea that resonated most with me - and the idea I’m hoping resonates with you here today - focused on the champion’s ability to play in the present. Federer explained that over the course of his career, he won almost 80% of the total matches he played. Surprisingly, though, in all those contests combined, he won just over 54% of the total points that were played. “Even top ranked tennis players,” Federer confirmed, “win barely more than half of the points they play.” That reality forced Federer to accept that if he really wanted to win, then developing the ability to forget what just happened - and focus fully on the next play - was critical to his success. “When you lose every second point on average,” he explained, “you learn not to dwell on every shot.” Early in his career, that was an admitted weakness in his game, one that cost him an opportunity to win on more than one occasion. He justified his inability to let go of a mistake or move on from a failure as proof of his competitiveness. But he also had to accept that his inability to let go and move on often crippled his performance even long after his challenging moment had passed. Many of us - including maybe you here today - struggle with the same challenge. Because you care, it may be tough for you to let go of a mistake or move on from a failure. It's easy to allow a previous moment to distract your focus and hinder your performance in the present moment, and allow it to keep you from giving your full attention and your best effort to what’s right in front of you. That’s a weakness you might humbly have to admit has cost you an opportunity to win on more than one occasion. Federer clarified to the graduates at Dartmouth why developing this ability to play in the present was so critical to his success, and why it's so critical to success for each of us, too. “When you’re playing a point,” he said, “it has to be the most important thing in the world, and it is. But when it’s behind you, it’s behind you. This mindset is really crucial, because it frees you to fully commit to the next point - and the next point after that - with intensity, clarity, and focus.” “The truth is," he continued, "whatever game you play in life, sometimes you’re going to lose - a point, a match, a season, a job. It’s a rollercoaster with many ups and downs, and it’s natural when you’re down to doubt yourself and feel sorry for yourself… But negative energy is wasted energy. You want to become a master at overcoming hard moments. That, to me, is the sign of a champion.” Roger Federer's message to each of us today is simple: you must be present to win. Your inability to let go of a mistake or move on from a failure is standing in the way of your success. Is it evidence of your competitiveness? Maybe. But it's also the easy way out in your moment of testing. It’s tough to become a master at overcoming hard moments. But doing the hard work to develop that ability, like Roger Federer did, is even stronger proof of your commitment to winning. It's evidence that you’re willing to do what champions do, and that you're serious about earning the success you say you’re after. SUBSCRIBE TO THE CHAMPIONS 101 NEWSLETTER HERE. Copyright Champions 101. All rights reserved.

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