Saturday, June 11, 2022



Last week, Rafael Nadal became the first among men's Tennis players to win 21 grand slam titles. There were 2 matches in his Australian Open journey that stood out for me.

First, of course, the finals. He beat his hugely talented opponent Daniil Medvedev in 5 sets. Medvedev is 11 years younger than Nadal. And Nadal came back from 2 sets deficit, from a stage when the tournament's AI software gave him merely a 4% chance.
Second, an epic quarter finals match against an opponent (Denis Shapovalov) 13 years younger. He conceded a 2 set lead to eventually win the final set despite suffering a heat stroke and losing 4 kgs during the course of the match. So 5 days after losing 4 kgs, he plays another 5.5 hours match and wins the coveted trophy. Insane! Isn't it ?

There are plenty of reasons that can be attributed to Nadal's success, arguably none as dominant as this one- his mindset. Any lesser player in similar conditions i.e. 2 sets down in a big finals, against higher ranked, much younger player would have been clouded with self-doubt. These words reflects Nadal's indomitable mindset-
"yeah, we need to suffer, we need to fight in the next set again.
“That’s the only way to be where I am today."

One might argue that Nadal is one of a kind and probably 'born' with such an 'unbendable' mindset. If you think this way, you are possibly mistaken! Ravi Venkatesan in his book "What the Heck Do I Do with My Life?" lucidly expresses his perspective on the subject of mindset and says-

"Think of your mindset as the software that runs your life...The wonderful thing is that ,like software, you can reprogramme your mindset and thereby change your reality"

Extending the case of Nadal, unlike many champions, Nadal seem to have perfected this ability to reprogramme his mindset within hours or even minutes and set himself up to make extraordinary comebacks and win from seemingly hopeless situations.

In the chapter titled 'Mindset: Your all for life", Ravi brings forward some brilliant insights into this crucial subject and shares these 5 Beliefs that are particularly important-
1. Self-belief
2. Agency and personal responsibility
3. The growth mindset
4. Abundance
5. The big questions
(check out the summary in my sketchnote).
'What the Heck Do I Do with My Life' is a book (link in comments) worthy of including in your reading list every year and re-reading till your internalize the ideas. Potentially life changing ideas.

What are your stories of embracing growth mindset and challenging/reprogramming your beliefs ?

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