The Inner Game of Tennis: Mindsets

6 July 2016

The Wimbledon players are in the quarter finals, and now the standard is getting so high we have been thinking about what makes, or breaks, a champion.

With reigning champion Djokovic pushed out an early stage, this year has proven that Wimbledon is not just about the most skilled players or the physical game. As Tim Gallwey explores in his seminal book: The Inner Game of Tennis, there is a mental and psychological side to the game which is just as key to good performance as skill. Gallwey explores the self-doubt, nervousness, and lapses of concentration that can keep a player from winning, no matter how good they are.

This idea is relevant for your performance at work too: you may be brilliant at what you do, but if you are in the wrong mind-set you won’t perform as well. The key to success is cultivating a growth mind-set:

These are not easy things to achieve, straight away, and you will often, automatically revert back to a fixed mind-set, where you prefer to stay in your comfort zone and shy away from effort and challenges, but by creating situations where you achieve small wins, for example on parts of a project, then the positive feeling of success will fuel your motivation, and in turn, your growth mind-set.

Being willing to learn, improve and take risks is all part of how we learn and develop, and ultimately improve our performance, so no matter how good you are at your job, you won’t achieve your best if you have a fixed mind-set. So next time you are faced with a tough task, a project or even just before you start the day, remind yourself of these five aspects and try to put them into practice. 

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