Making the right point

Dr. Roger Federer’s commencement speech at Dartmouth College is lovely. I particularly liked the point he made about winning the right points. He won almost 80 percent of the 1526 plus singles matches he played, but only 54 percent of all the points he played. Clearly in tennis and, by extension in life, not every point is equal. Some matter more. Roger reminds the graduating class not to “dwell on every shot”. Winning the right points is what matters.

I often entertain the idea of writing a book. In fact, during my last work stint in Mumbai, I actually began and got a few chapters done. My book is titled “A bearing of the Soul” and is about the different kinds of relationships in life. I hope to complete it one day. As I reflect on the chapters I wrote, they bring to mind different phases, places, and people in my life, and a quote I jotted down comes to the surface. “Sometimes people who you want to be in your life story are just a chapter or two.”

Linking this idea to what Roger said about not all points being equal, the impact and longevity of a relationship are not always about how much time one has with a person. It’s about how that person has touched my life. Winning in the relationship game is about how you hold and see a person in your mind’s eye. Are they always with you? Do they make you and your world better? If yes then it’s a win.

Sometimes the people we want to hold on to are no longer with us, and that chapter is over, yet they continue to be central to the story. In other cases, they played just a small part and you let them remain a chapter or two, that is not central to the plot, but adds colour to the story.

As they say in tennis ‘love all’ – it’s your story, you get to decide which chapters matter more than others. Make the right choices and hold on to the relationships that matter most to you. Hold on to the ones that hear you even when you do not speak.

The stories we tell ourselves about our relationships keep them alive (or not). The good news is we get to tell the story. Is it a happy one or a sad one? What is the moral? Has it ended or are there more chapters to add? As Roger reminded the graduating class, some points matter more than others. The same holds true for relationships. Focus on the important relationships (points) in your story, frame them well and you will win more matches.

P.S – If you have not watched the full speech (its 25 minutes) I highly recommend it. I also love the way he talks about graduating from tennis in 2022 and not retiring. He too, like many others in the world is trying to figure out his ‘What next?’.

The views and opinions published here belong to the author and do not necessarily reflect the views and opinions of the publisher.

Nikhil Dey
Nikhil Dey is Executive Director, Adfactors PR.

A trusted coaching and communications professional, Nikhil Dey is a certified life and leadership coach (International Coach Federation - ICF). Nurturing talent and helping clients achieve their goals is what makes him happy. He loves learning from students of communication, teaching courses and guest lecturing at various educational institutions. When he is not working you will find him on the tennis court or out for long walks with his family and four legged friends.

Previously he has held senior leadership positions at Weber Shandwick and Genesis BCW.

He can be reached on twitter @deydreaming

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