Roger Federer became the first man to win 20 Grand Slams and quoted this old adage. It describes his situation beautifully. Yet there is a paradox here, especially in the world of sports. Age determines a lot about the performance levels because of the physical development of the body, the number of hours one engages in the sport and the opportunities to learn. We all know, the performance curve follows the path of diminishing returns after a certain point. What is that point?
For professional tennis players, it is normally 30 years of age. Roger was a sensation in the first few years of his career and won many Grand Slams. He dominated the world of tennis for five years. Then came a big lull in his career in 2013-16 and a big line-up of great competitors at the same time. By historical evidences and common wisdom, he should have faded away a few years ago. That was the time he has come back strongly again! He is clearly the oldest of the top players in the global stage and going strong. Is there a tail wind for him or really a secret sauce that makes him stand apart?
Fortune favours the brave!
After winning the game, he said, it is his schedule and staying hungry. Easier said than done! I wonder what one can learn from this surreal story to drive one’s way to success.
Many of us do not know what a good schedule is. We are too lazy to make a plan for the day, the week and so on. We do not know how to prioritize; do not invest the energies to make plans. Hence, we let ourselves stay afloat on the stream of time and hope that we will stay safe and make progress.
All actions do not materialize as per our plan. The brave do not worry when their plans do not come true; they adapt and do their best to stay the course. If it doesn’t work, they make alternate plans. They do not brood over the failures.
If we think about Roger Federer’s statements again, we can see that he has been brave to take the lull of his career in his stride, adapted his schedule and kept his ambitions burning. Luck has been on his side. Let’s be brave to plan and adapt our course!
We need to gather the Resources
Resources are required for any activity to be done well. We may need finances, emotional support, guidance from a coach, the right machinery, technology, team and so on. Organizing all of them at right time is essential. Half-hearted efforts, assumptions or willingness to work with the second-grade choices do not make the secret sauce to success.
Experience in any field gives us the opportunity to gain insight, learn and adapt. Not all of us squeeze the optimum value out of our experiences. Opportunity is the first step to success; the biggest of enablers for success. Our Age and experience gives us the platform for success but does not guarantee it. We have to make the most of it!
A coach can guide us, raise the bar and encourage us to succeed, but the disciple has to find the harmony with the coach, absorb the inputs, ask the right questions and explore new vistas. Like a coach is a valuable resource, there are many such resources needed for success and all of them need to be in perfect cohesion.
Staying the course
Often success is elusive and it is temporary. Each time, we have to prove our mettle to hold on to success. It is to be earned every day and week. The journey is arduous. Many of us do not persevere at the same path. We see many people interested in healthy lifestyle, regular exercise, running a marathon, learning a new hobby and so on. New Year resolutions are aplenty. Only a few are able to do it. Some of us keep procrastinating, explore alternative paths and eventually lose interest in the cause. This is the most common reason why we fail in crossing the line.
China has developed itself as the manufacturing hub for the world. Behind this success, it is not the years of experience in manufacturing. Rather, it is the ecosystem of government policy, availability of labour, technology adaptation, vocational training, social norms of working together and so on. It is their consistent and disciplined approach of staying the course. Can another country replicate it? Difficult, but not impossible!
Age is just a number. Make it work for you!