The whole and its parts

The whole & its parts

It’s just a point

Things don’t work out as planned. There always is something that is not as expected. Sometimes everything, sometimes only details. Whatever the process, it involved adapting to the situation.

When one is used to a process, one learns to adapt to the multitude of details requiring that we adapt to the situation. It’s the work. It’s embracing the process.

But, as we’ve gotten used to the process, it may seem to be easy, or even effortless to adapt. That is only true for those who’ve decided that there is no reason to resist that adaptation. That there is no reason to resist the multiple moments that may feel like failures. That errors, once they have been made, are of the past.

Learning to do so often is hard work.

Of the 1526 singles matches Roger Federer played in his career, he won almost 80%. That is, he lost a fifth of them. Looking at the 80% of matches he won, it is the number of points won that is stunning. It is 54%. As he described in his Dartmouth Commencement Speech in 2024, even the top-ranked tennis players win barely more than half of the points they play. They lose every second point on average. And beware, there are not many who succeed in winning 54% of the points played.

It’s how he learned not to dwell on a point. It’s only a point. When it is lost, it is behind you. When it is won, it is behind you. It’s just a point. The most important point always is the one that you are playing.

Learn how to overcome hard moments. Accept that they occur over and over again. Work on finding your way to do it.

It’s true in tennis. It’s true for leaders.


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