Saturday, September 13, 2014

Nothing Means More Than This Day

Today is going to be a different type of post. Yes, you can probably tell by the title it's going to be a philosophical and motivational one! Today my entire post is based on a single sentence, a quote as a matter of fact. This is a quote from a German writer named Johann Wolfgang von Goethe. Johann wrote and/or said 'nothing means more than this day.' When I googled this quote I also came across a similar one that reads, 'nothing is worth more than this day.' Either way they both imply the same thing and have inspired today's post.

So you're probably wondering how I'm going to go on about a single sentence for an entire blog post?   Well here we go. I actually found this inspiring little quote inside my bag of granola one morning last week. Packaging words inside a product is not just for fortune cookies anymore.

This line got me thinking about the motivation we need each day to be our best and give it our all. When we are doing goal setting it's challenging to see and feel our improvement little by little, day by day. We can also get stuck thinking too much and living for the future. We may say things like, 'one day when I'm older and in better shape I'll beat this person and win that tournament.' It's a good thing that we are persistent and determined and don't let individual results get us down. But we also can get lost with what may or may never happen and lose sight of what we can control. What we can control is the present, this day, this moment. If we continue putting our best effort in each moment every day we will get to where we envision ourselves in the future. But the warning here is losing sight of the present day, which is what matters most!

I can speak from experience after dealing with an injury last year. I thought I would be competing in tournaments and still improving at squash much later into my coaching career. That I would win more national masters titles and compete at the world masters. In hinds sight I took the last few events I played for granted, always thinking there would be plenty of more opportunities. You don't know how much you will miss it until it's gone and you never know how many more chances you will have at something. My advice is about just focusing and enjoying the present, on this moment of this day. It's often about the journey, not the destination. Do your best right now. If you were having trouble finding the motivation needed to give it your all today maybe this will help. 

Don't waste a single day, living for what the future may or may not hold. Which sometimes the best thing you can do for yourself is to rest; this is such a tough thing to do for some people. I know I've already said it, but do what you can at this moment and then the next and you will eventually get to where you want to go. I believe in having lofty dreams and goals and they are only considered lofty because they are challenging to those that don't know you and don't have faith in themselves. I really believe that a motivated person can do whatever they want. That's the number one thing I've learned about myself from playing squash.

I want to touch base on the balance between between the present and the future. When someone is extremely driven towards the future, it may be difficult to 'take the time and smell the roses.' This is no doubt a challenging balance and one of the hardest parts of goal setting and becoming an expert in anything in life. It take a lot of discipline and sometimes hard work (it's not always fun!). It's what you do today that counts. You can't change what's happened before or what may occur down the road. But you can influence what may happen to you by what you do right now

Here's an example of a common situation. What would you do? You could do a hard training session by yourself that you don't enjoy but you know is good for your preparation for a tournament down the road, or you could go out with friends to a movie or a party. Which do you value more? What would you choose? Does missing a single training session really make a difference? Take a look at this clip on rowing before you answer that. The coach handles this very question quite well The hard training you do is for the future and not enjoyable today, so why bother? Doesn't this imply you value the future more than this moment? Does this mean my granola was lying to me?

You don't get fitter or stronger as you are doing the exercise. It's as you build up your fitness that you see progression. Good things take time to build. 'Rome wasn't built in a day!' So how can you live in the present? Enjoy the challenges and the hard work you put in each day? I'm always inspired when I read athletic biographies about all the obstacles they've overcome and all of the sacrifices they made to get to where they are. If you have any recommendations please let me know! Some athletes like they really loved every second of it, while others (like Andre Agassi) admit that becoming a professional athlete in an individual sport is a cruel way to live and he in fact hated tennis. Perhaps if he was more internally driven and not pushed by his father to hit endless balls he would have a different perspective. Andre also says he doesn't want his kids playing tennis even though he's married to Steffi Graf. How could they not be great! I think I better end this discussion now before I get sidetracked into a new topic (yeah I know, too late!).

I hope you enjoyed my philosophy 101 post! I also tried to throw in a bunch of common quotes. Perhaps I inspired you and got you thinking about what drives you to do what you do each day. It's easy to get ahead of ourselves. This could be even with a tournament or a match, thinking it's over before it actually is. Find that dream that motivates you and take care of what you can, this moment and this day. Don't get absorbed in the future so that you don't appreciate today. Like not being able to enjoy a Sunday because we know Monday morning is just around the corner!

What does the Johann quote mean to you? Do you think I overanalyzed it? And what are your thoughts on the Agassi hating tennis and not wanting his kids to play? 

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