You’ve got to find yourself first. Everything else will follow,” the Canadian author Charles De Lint once said. Quite, but is everyone given the time?
Tennis as a toddler
Tennis player Andre Agassi had a tough father who loved tennis. After failed ‘attempts’ to transform his eldest kids into tennis prodigies, Andre’s father was determined that Andre would have no choice but become number one in the world. And that determination started when Agassi was only a toddler.
Andre faced several challenges throughout his life: firstly an injured wrist that required a severe operation, then a broken heart, followed by another broken heart. And all the time a constant question was popping up at the back of his head: “I hate tennis, why should I play it?” Andre fought hard to overcome his fears and find his purpose in life.
The man he is today
But there’s a flip-side to tough childhoods. “Courage is developed in the presence of fear, not in spite of it,” contends sales guru Jeb Blount, and Kevin Hart, the American comedian who was born and raised in Philadelphia, is inclined to agree.
However, in his Netflix special ‘Laugh at my pain’, Kevin tells how grateful he is for all the terrible things that his father did during his childhood. According to him, without these past events he surely wouldn’t be the human being that he’s become today, and his comedy would be dreary.
“When you allow your mental discipline to slip, you become susceptible to mindset suckers,” continues Blount. To me a mindset sucker is that little voice at the back of my head always trying to persuade me to take the easiest path. The truth is: there is no easy path.
When I look and reflect upon stories like Agassi’s or Hart’s, one main trait comes to my mind: mental toughness.
Fortune favours the brave
Agassi and Hart were fortunate to have marvelous people around them. But fortune only happened because they sought it.
If I could give you advice based on my recent learnings from Agassi, Hart and Blount, I would say: Be humble, nobody tolerates jerks. Surround yourself with people who care for you and who can see your faults. Take their advice in consideration and don’t be a victim.