Sunday, October 18, 2009
Meet Triumph and Disaster
At age 10, while training to play competitive tennis, I had the opportunity to visit the Wimbledon tennis courts in England. My father pointed to the sign over Center Court which read, “Meet with Triumph and Disaster and treat those two imposters the same.”
He encouraged me to think beyond any impossible challenge to make I’m Possible my mantra. The words of the sign stuck with me. I did not really understand their meaning until I had to deal with winning and losing in high school tennis tournaments and other interscholastic sports.
Years later I discovered the quotation came from the poem, “If” by Rudyard Kipling. http://www.poetryfoundation.org/archive/poem.html?id=175772
One of the most important strategies I developed involved my outward attitude. I began to realize how it affected my opponent. I learned to judge a missed shot with an inner laugh and straight face. Positive body language worked to my advantage.
My efforts to prevent my competition from observing my frustration took a long time to establish. I had to make it authentic from the inside out. As I developed my self-confidence when losing, I realized the power I had over an opponent. My ability to keep in touch with I’m Possible turned many games around in my favor. I also gained strength from my opponents’ frustrations.
This also applies to the writing process. Never permit your opponent - whether disguised as frustration with your writing or a cranky mood - to dislodge that belief you have in yourself.
The more you discover about yourself, the more strength you will bring to all of life’s encounters in relationships, writing or competition. Each win or loss will provide more experience for the next level of achievement.
Writing about your life's opponents will always help you learn ways to defeat them. Then, on a day when those imposters of Triumph or Disaster intrude upon your feelings and focus, read about the ways you charged beyond the challenges. Build upon these skills for the future.
Creative Write: Write your accomplishments. How do you achieve success? Write your feelings and frustrations. How will you overcome them? What does failure mean? Let humor become your ally. Do not look back but continue writing onward. Record all of your efforts.