While walking around recently, I noticed a boy of about 12 years old hitting a tennis ball against a wall with his tennis racket. Perhaps he was practising for a match or maybe he was just having fun. Either way, he didn’t have any friends around to impress so he was clearly motivated to do this for himself and seeing him got me thinking.
I wondered what the boy was actually doing. As somebody with a limited knowledge of tennis, it looked like he was simply repeating the same stroke, practising it to perfection. Sometimes we enjoy repeating the same thing because we’re naturally gifted or we improve over time, but however good this feels, we will always know the outcome.
But what if we were to change what we did? The outcome could be the same as doing what we have become familiar with. It could be much better. Or much worse. Either way, the outcome would not be guaranteed and that can be a scary thing to deal with. However, the possibility of creating a different and possibly more positive outcome will have increased immensely. Once ‘tennis boy’ has improved his stroke, he will move on to experiment and practise others to perfection, constantly changing to challenge himself in different ways to create a more positive outcome.
The famous American motivational speaker Tony Robbins said ‘If you do what you’ve always done, then you’ll get what you’ve always got’ which may sound like a simplistic way to approach life, however I have found it to be an incredibly helpful and powerful ethos in life and although I may never win Wimbledon, perhaps our little tennis player friend might do one day.