I’m indebted to John McEnroe for the content of this current piece.
Serving a tennis ball, aspiring to an All-Ireland, attempting to run a successful business, starting a program in wellness, putting yourself on the way to any achievement, is not for the faint hearted. Nor for the undecided.
We need to be in a serious and driven frame of mind.
Being earnest about an outcome of what we’re trying to do will bring energy, force, and persistence to our task. These are qualities that we can generate.
When McEnroe stepped onto the court in Wimbledon, he wasn’t relying just on his tennis skills to win his matches. He was bringing a force and a drive to the entire performance that influenced everything from the people in the audience to the line-judge in the chair.
He’s entire existence was invested in the game.
It may sound like an exaggeration to think about achieving anything with that kind of commitment, but if we are serious, that’s part of the price. And everything has its price.
The price isn’t always monetary. It can take a toll on our emotions, or our time, or our relationships, or any part of our life, for that matter. This is why we need to consider, to think about, what we want and what we intend for our lives.
When we write a goal, we need to think about what we need to DO about it. The practical goals are not necessarily the end results that we hope for, but the activities we need to put in play to get there.
And that it was something about which we need to be serious.
It’s the process, the journey, the means to get there, that we need to take into account.
Any of us can set a goal. But when the moments of discouragement, difficulty, and other obstacles arise, we need to have the qualities inherent in all of us to stay on track.
And that’s what motivation is about. It’s about how we feel about what we’re doing.
It’s not an intellectual experience. It’s on emotional one. We run on emotion. We perform according to how we feel.
Though our decision to start a task may be intellectual, our ability to persist and persevere may very well come down to how strongly we feel about that decision.
All the time, we are motivated; we are motivated either to achieve, or we can be motivated to capitulate, to give up, to quit.
Again, the choice is ours. And as we see every day of the week when we care to look, many people are achieving wonderful goals. So can any of us. If we are serious. We can harness the energy, drive, ambition, persistence, courage, that gets us there.
That’s why so many successful people speak about the wonders of the journey; they have experienced the power of those feelings and qualities that otherwise would have remained dormant in their lives.
So when Mr McEnroe reproached the lineman in Wimbledon, he wasn’t just speaking to him. He was addressing all of us.
In any endeavour, from judging a line-ball to running our lives, we need to bring a strong sense, a serious sense, of purpose to the job.
Otherwise we put ourselves on target for Mr McEnroe's reproach.