I’m a tennis enthusiast and a big fan of certain professional players, for not only their talent on the court, but also for the example they are off the court. Sir Andy Murray is a vocal advocate of gender equality, mental health, and climate change awareness. The G.O.A.T Serena Williams is someone I also look up to for her authenticity, commitment, and sheer determination over a 25-year (and counting) professional tennis career.
I’m also a fan of Stan Wawrinka, who has managed to win a few Grand Slams in the Federer-Nadal era. After an early loss to a lower-ranked player in this year’s Australian Open, a match that he was an inch from winning, he posted this to his Instagram soon after. After an initial chuckle, I was then able to see the deeper value. Think about it: these players commit to long arduous hours of practice and physical conditioning to prepare for these tournaments, and after what I’m sure was a heartbreaking loss, he was able to bounce back and hit the reset button, with a good sense of humor about it, to boot. It goes to show how mentally tough these players have to be, not only during a match but also right after, knowing that tomorrow is another day and another chance to produce a better result. For me, it’s a great reminder that we’re all human and will fail on occasion, but to view failure with a sort of gratitude because it’s an opportunity to learn from past mistakes, above all else.
I feel that a positive attitude is rooted in gratitude anyway – for Stan, I’m sure he’s thankful to be able to compete at a high level, especially in light of the long climb back up the rankings after a knee injury. Being able to move past failure and hit the reset button is admittedly easier when we can look at it from a place of gratitude, and see all the good things we have in our lives, both big and small. Personal and professional setbacks are a part of life. It’s how we view and react to these defeats that help determine future victories.