In the last week, my tennis game has jumped to a higher level…in the opinions of those playing with me. I can feel it too.

Among the reasons for my stronger strokes and serve is great advice from a high school classmate I saw recently who has been a tennis coach for decades. Marilyn gave me suggestions that I have been working on for two weeks…and then it all came together during four tennis matches in the third week. I was the best ever. Everyone was surprised and commenting. My net game was also terrific, and I had few unforced errors.

I have always said that Life is a Smorgasbord, and you have to sample all the dishes to find out which ones you like. Marilyn told me to do things that were very different from other instructors I have taken lessons from and watched on video. So I was eager to experiment…anything to hit a harder ball with accuracy. Her techniques work for me…so my game is now at a new and much higher level…this is really fun. Especially when I can startle people who think they are going to dominate me.

Of course I think the same lesson applies off the court and in your everyday life: keep experimenting, don’t ever give up, maintain your enthusiasm, don’t be afraid to change old habits, embrace new ways that might be better. Unfortunately I see that most people are too comfortable with their established routines to risk failing in new efforts.

A Zen parable asks you to assume you only have one arm and hand and are holding a small bit of water in a glass. Now consider reaching for the pitcher that has more water. Most people realize that they have to put down the glass first, AND AT THAT MOMENT THEY HAVE NOTHING. So they hold back and settle for the smaller amount/achievement/standard, etc.

Would you take the chance of losing everything to go for a bigger life? Most of us are very cautious in that situation. It’s scary to try a new way of relating to people or changing careers or making money. That’s way people generally stick with what is familiar and do things the way “they have always been done.” Which is quite difficult in these days of constant and rapid change.

Luckily hitting the tennis ball differently isn’t that big a deal. So I took the chance and seem to be winning the bet. We’ll see how long this peak performance continues…