You can’t cram advice or lessons into peoples’ brains, if they are not ready to receive them. We all become overwhelmed in certain situations…you can see your friend’s eyes glaze over, when you are giving such “needed, helpful guidance.” But staying patient is really hard in the early stages of a learning process.

I was aware of that again for myself recently from both sides of the divide. Some one asked me for advice, I gave it, they ignored it, and I think they are making a big mistake. But it’s not my problem. It’s just that the right way to behave—in this case NOT making a very expensive purchase—seemed so crystal clear to me. But my friend doesn’t see it that way and took actions that I pray don’t get him into financial trouble. Hopefully I am wrong.

The teacher came to ME this week, while watching the Barclay tennis doubles finals in London. I saw finally that in spite of what I had been taught to do, the pros were standing much closer to the net. I suddenly want to do the same, and two coaches I asked about it said I could stand as close as feels comfortable…doesn’t have to be in the middle of the box. Similarly, I finally noticed that doubles pros on TV serve and come up to the net, rather than hanging around the base line. I feel ready to do that as well.

So now I see in my brain what has always been reaching my eyes, when I watch the pros. But it hasn’t registered with me before…too much of a beginner…or intermediate player, and just not my time to “get” these lessons. It’s a good sign, gives me more confidence in my game, and I am starting to do it when I play. You can’t be surprised, when I tell you that old habits die hard, and I can’t always remember to rush toward the net after serving, or stand closer to the net. But I am eager to make these changes. Something has finally clicked. I must be ready.

As you know from earlier posts, I think of tennis and other sports as metaphors for life. You can learn a great deal about people from how they play the game, and you can learn even more about yourself. Then I am always attempting to extrapolate what I learn about playing tennis to the game of life, particularly when I am improving my skills at tennis. Maybe a flawed connection…but I love making the effort.

The TV announcers talk so often about how a player has lost, or has less, confidence…even the greats like Roger Federer, who is losing more than he used to. Believing you can win and staying relaxed, rather than tense and rigid, are such fuzzy terms. Clearly defined and visible observations are so much easier to follow. But that ain’t happening on the court or in the life mix. Nevertheless, I keep on swinging, and as a friend wrote yesterday, “keep on hitting winners…”