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Everybody is familiar with the expression “You have to want to win the tournament in order to be able to win it.” I found out yesterday what is really meant by this. I’m currently reading a great book called ”The Millionaire Fastlane”. This deals with the fast lane to riches and the comments are applicable to many areas of life. The author, MJ DeMarco, writes, that there is a difference between “wanting to” in the sense of being “interested” in something, and “wanting”, in the sense of being “committed” to something.
Commitment for me means binding oneself genuinely, deeply, and convincingly to a goal. I have often travelled to tournaments or team matches and was enthusiastically interested (which can also be seen as “wanting to”) in winning the tournament. With the same interest as I want to to be world champion, a millionaire, a Casanova, an astronaut – whatever. At the same time I went there with the subliminal feeling that second or third place wouldn’t be bad either (taking into consideration the competition, my fitness, headaches, [you can add your own excuses here]). Well, so I got to be master of second place that way. I was interested in being number one, but committed to getting second or third place. My real want was to save face, to achieve a respectable result, or to be home early on Sunday. Nice and safe.
Newly inspired by my reading, I went to a tournament yesterday. On the way there, I again caught myself in thoughts going in the direction of “placing well” as in: I’m sure that there a lot of good players, I haven’t practiced for months, and so on. However, this time I noticed this in time and changed my commitment. I said, and I really meant it: I’m going there to win the tournament. And I won it.
This isn’t hocus-pocus. It isn’t a matter of putting some silly affirmations in your mind, or to appeal to the universe, the stars, to God, or your fairy godmother. No, the commitment lets you make a few correct decisions and actions at the right time. I decided, for example, to only drink water the whole evening. I ate well. When I noticed that the game was getting tight, I focused and played those balls that promised the greatest success. My commitment was simply permanently alive, and most of all, when things weren’t going well. I won two hill hill matches and played with great concentration against opponents with handicap. I was very much less nervous and much more self-assured than usual. Because I knew my true goal and there was no discrepancy between wanting out of interest (it would be nice to win), and wanting through commitment (I’m here only to win).
Why the heading “The most you will get is what you want?” Because all that commitment is no guarantee that you will reach your goal. I also made errors yesterday which could have cost me a set. I also had luck at the right moment yesterday. I didn’t have to play against one or two strong players. It could have happened that I didn’t win the tournament and not reach my goal. However:
- I would have felt good in spite of this in the knowledge that I did everything possible.
- I won the tournament.
The second point is interesting. [tweetable alt=”” hashtag=””]True commitment is best recognized by the results.[/tweetable] The player who’s interested in winning comes in second, the player committed to winning is the winner. If I had “committed” myself to “saving face, “good placement,” or “a nice evening,” then I would have gotten exactly that. If I had committed myself to second place, I would have gotten second place. There is of course no guarantee to reach the striven-for goal. However, you do get at most what you strive for.