‘Avoid the Wrong Choices ’

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03rd April, 2023

In his classic book, ‘Winning the Loser’s Game,’ Charley Ellis gives one of my all-time favourite success analogies:

‘In expert tennis the ultimate outcome is determined by the actions of the winner. Professional tennis players stroke the ball hard with laser like precision through long and often exciting rallies until one player is able to drive the ball just out of the reach or force the other player to make an error. These splendid players seldom make mistakes.’

Amateur tennis is almost entirely different. The outcome is determined by the loser.

Here’s how.

Brilliant shots, long and exciting rallies, and seemingly miraculous recoveries are few and far between.

The ball is too often hit into the net or out of bounds, and double faults at service are not uncommon.

Instead of trying to add power to our serve or hit closer to the line to win, an amateur should concentrate on consistently getting the ball back.

Amateurs seldom beat their opponents but instead beat themselves.

The victor in this game of tennis gets a higher score because the opponent is losing even more points.

In matches played by professionals, around 80% of points are won by a player hitting a great shot.

In matches played by amateurs, around 80% of points are lost by a player making a mistake.

The best tennis players in the world hit winners while the rest of us hit it into the net.’

Hence, we need to realise that success is not about making the right choices, but it is about not making or avoiding the wrong choices.

In ‘The Almanack of Naval Ravikant,’ he sums it up beautifully and says: “I don’t believe I have the ability to say what is going to work. Rather, I try to eliminate what’s not going to work.

I think being successful is just about not making mistakes.

It’s not about having correct judgment.

It’s about avoiding incorrect judgements.”

You have to learn to say NO to a lot of good things, in order to be able to say yes to a lot of great things.

Avoid the mistakes and wrong choices, achieve success and Stay blessed forever.