Running a startup? Your brain probably feels like it's inside a blender most of the time. Juggling so many ideas, innovating, strategizing, all at the same time - it's mentally overwhelming!
You've no doubt heard legends in the startup world like Charlie Munger advocate for meditation. Why? Because our minds, much like our bodies, need rest. Meditation is essentially a way to give your brain a breather. Think of it as sleep, but for your mental state. It's the practice of emptying the mind, letting it rejuvenate.
I am telling you that tennis serves as a similar escape?
Tennis as Meditation
Tennis is all about being in the moment. Think about it. You're aiming to hit a ball, speeding at you at over 60 miles/hour (that's around 100km/h), with a sweet spot on your racket that's hardly 100cm^2. That requires laser focus. The sheer intensity of the game demands you stay present, shedding all other thoughts. Just like meditation, it pulls you into the now, demanding your entire concentration on that fleeting moment when the racket connects with the ball.
Tennis Trains Your Physical Focus
Our modern lives rarely challenge our eyes and minds to track fast-moving objects. Consider reading on a browser – you’re leisurely scrolling, absorbing content at your own pace.
Then there's tennis.
In tennis, the ball whizzes past at lightning speed. Your mind and body must sync in perfect harmony to respond. Your eyes track the ball, while your feet position you correctly. You adjust your stance, balance your weight, rotate your shoulders, and with a flexible wrist, you swing. This intricate dance must be executed within split seconds. Engaging in such intense physical activity, no doubt, sharpens your mental reflexes too.
The Instant Feedback of Tennis
One of the most grueling parts of being in the startup world? The prolonged feedback loop. You might have to wait months or even years to see the results of a decision. Worse yet, the feedback can be misleading. Maybe you did everything right, but external factors skewed the results. It requires resilience, unwavering belief in your vision, but also adaptability.
In tennis, feedback is nearly instantaneous. Every 1.5 seconds, you’re making a swing. Each hit gives you clear, audible feedback. Hit the racket's sweet spot? You'll know instantly. This contrast of swift feedback in tennis versus the long haul in startups provides a refreshing balance.
The Learning Curve of Tennis
If you're looking for a sport to master overnight, tennis isn't it. When you first start, balls are going to fly in every direction. There's a steep initial learning curve. And there's so much to grasp: forehand, backhand, serves (a beast in itself), volleys, footwork.
But here's the beauty - tennis always has something new to teach, something more to refine. Just like a startup, where there's always a new challenge, a fresh hurdle.
While startup life is exhilarating, it can be mentally taxing. Tennis, in its intense focus and physicality, offers a wonderful counterbalance. So next time you're feeling overwhelmed, why not trade that office chair for a tennis racket? It might be the refreshing mental break you need.