Here is a clever solution to improving at sports that I believe is transferable to all of one’s life. I complained to Greg Reiss about my weak tennis backhand. Greg coaches squash and tennis at Millbrook School in upstate New York.

When we met for a lesson, he said that he had a trick for dealing with my problem. Instead of focusing on the poor backhand, he would work on my much stronger forehand. He told me to move a step to the left, when I was receiving serves, so that I could have more chances of using my forehand. He said to give up on a hard topspin backhand, which I couldn’t do, and only hit a backhand lob, which I could do. He said to focus on my strengths, instead of debilitating attempts to master a stroke that continued to elude me.

And it worked. I felt better about my game, odds of winning points, self confidence. Maybe if I weren’t so old and coming so late to the game, Greg would have given me different suggestions. But this was sound advice at my stage of learning.

Clearly this can be applied to everyday life. You just have to know what your strengths and weaknesses are. You might have to accept that you are good at speaking, but not at fixing car engines. You need to know yourself and pursue those paths that mesh with your skills.