Over the past few days, I have been reading a lot about Rafael Nadal's comeback and his superstitions. Be it Novak Djokovic's upcoming book which mentions Nadal as "a ball of nervous tics and superstitious rituals." or speculations about his performance during the hard court season, there are many opinions floating around.
Some people have called his knee issues as hoax, some find his superstitions funny, some think that he tries to deviate and undermine his chances of winning a Grand Slam and so on. Earlier on, I might have been guilty of believing in either of the opinions.
But not now as I believe that there can be another side to this story which people might have failed to see. What if his knee issues are real, what if a person who is known for his superstitions on and off the court really feels that he might not win a Grand Slam? Imagine a person who wakes up in the night after listening to thunderstorm and does not go to sleep till the storm passes, a person who is always meticulous about his rituals on the court - Doesn't it tell us something about Nadal?
Rafael Nadal is no doubt one of the greatest player in the world but if you closely observe his habits, you can see that beneath the surface, he is person who is haunted by doubts, nervous energy and fear. Otherwise why would the positioning of bottles matter so much for him during a match? The answer is simple: Because to Nadal's mind, these habits creates a sense of certainty and peace. It helps his mind quell away the negative energy of nervousness by creating a familiar environment.
It is a strong possibility that he is plagued by thoughts of fear, doubts and uncertainty. Yes, he is an icon of determination and mental toughness but if we look at history, many prominent people in various industries have been plagued by same fears. People who have been known for public speaking skills or acting still feel nervous before every presentation or play. Even players like Michael Jordan, Bjorn Borg, were famous for their superstitions. So it's completely humane for Nadal to feel the same when he has serious knee issues in his life.
Frank Bettger once said that "When you are scared, admit it". What if Rafael Nadal in sincere honesty admits to his knee problems, his fear that he might not win the next match every time he is asked a question? It has been proven time and time again that men who fail to admit their fear are the ones who crack in the battle. But if you admit that you are nervous, uncertain about your knees or chances of winning and don't try to fight it down, in most cases you are on the right road to overcoming your fear.
I believe by admitting to his fears and doubts, he just follows what is known to all that "There is no disgrace in admitting that we are scared but there is disgrace in failing to try" ( Frank Bettger). What I just realized is that by doing so, Rafael Nadal actually overcomes all his fears as he gives his 100 percent in every point that he plays.
It is not that he tries to take advantage of the rules or underestimates his chances. If we think deeply, he is a human being like us. How many of you are sure in your life that you will go on win every battle in life? Even if you have scored 100% in your exam for the first time, can you always say with certainty that you will score 100% next time also? I doubt that so what is wrong in admitting to the fact that you are not sure.
If there is one lesson I have learnt from Nadal is that if you are fearful and scared, admit it. It will help you ease your mind and see the wonders this rule will bring to you in your life. 12 Grand Slams, not a small feat by any standards.
Be Brave, Accept the fear and fight with courage. The next time you go before any exam or a challenge in your life, if suddenly you find yourself surrounded with nervousness, try the rule and you will see the remarkable change it will bring in your attitude.
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