They’re all valuable traits, but they pale in comparison to what each of us needs most in the quest to total life success: Personal accountability is No. 1. Craig Hickman, Roger Connors and Tom Smith wrote a book in which they sent out the message of accountability.
The book published around 27 years ago and became a New York Times bestseller. Its name: The Oz Principle. The book’s name also lent the authors their new nickname, “The Oz Guys”. The reason for the authors’ picking up on Oz was simple.
In their own words, then, “[It was] the perfect metaphoric backdrop for our timeless principles is a timeless story, one that we both loved as kids. “Surely you will recall meeting Dorothy, the Scarecrow, the Tin Man and the Cowardly Lion from the 1939 movie The Wizard of Oz, based on L.
Frank Baum’s classic children’s novel. All of the main characters are thrust into despairing circumstances beyond their control. A tornado rips Dorothy from her Kansas farm and hurls her against her will to a strange fantasy world.
The Scarecrow lives a stagnant life amid corn and crows because his creator skimped on brains. The Tin Man is rusted in place, unable to act because he lacks the heart to move. And the lovable Cowardly Lion? He lacks courage and nerve, and therefore lives a life well below his potential.
“Feeling victimized by shortcomings and circumstances, the characters believe they cannot possibly change things on their own, so they set off on the yellow brick road to the Land of Oz in hopes of finding an all-powerful wizard who will solve all of life’s problems for them”.
For the writers, the message given out by the book was based on the basic principle that one oughtn’t to let circumstances dictate who they are and what they do. While this message is true for the general populace, imbibing it is even more important for tennis players whose circumstances on the tennis court change like quicksilver, match after match and tournament after tournament.
Thus, for tennis players, it’s necessary that they don’t envision their success on external avenues. In other words, borrowing from the story of The Wizard of Oz, tennis players shouldn’t be thinking of achieving success through a wand of a wizard.
Doing so, would only hamper their progress on the court while piling on to their sense of inadequacy about being unable to get out of the rut they find themselves in. Rather, like the characters in the fantasy novel, tennis players should take the initiative of moulding their circumstances that will, in turn, help bring about more positive change to their careers.
The following are the 10 points that will help tennis players help bring about better personal accountability while being able to own up to each of their actions and its consequences, both triumphs and failures. These 10 points outlined in the newest book published by the same authors, which is called, “The Wisdom of Oz”.
1) Redefining accountability It’s not uncommon that the mere mention of the word accountability makes one think of ominousness? The negative connotation of the term accountability also finds a mention in the English dictionary: “Subject to having to report, explain or justify; being answerable, responsible”.
Therefore, tennis players need to avoid falling into this trap of negativity. And this can only be done if they stay true to themselves and their goals. Accountability shouldn’t be considered as punishment but rather as a gift that one can give oneself to improve and reach newer heights of success.
2) Focusing on accountability as though life were dependent on it Think of it in this way. If a tennis player had to hit one shot while down break point or a match point that would not only save the break point or the match point but also give him the chance to make a comeback in the match, wouldn’t he take that shot? At that moment, the player’s life, in that match, would be dependent on that shot.
Accountability, in the larger perspective, is that shot for a tennis player to constantly keep motivating himself because his life – his career – depends on being accountable, to himself in order to push himself up the ladder of success, further.
3) Dictate terms to the circumstances, and not the other way around Roger Federer lost to Rafael Nadal four consecutive times at the French Open, from 2005 to 2008. Yet, the Swiss didn’t the circumstances, in the form of his opponent, deter him from his goal of completing the career Slam.
He kept trying, waiting for his chances instead of merely getting dejected by his losses. In the end, Federer was able to control the circumstances around him while he completed the career Slam in 2009, after winning in Roland Garros for the first time in his career.
4) Understanding that success won’t come easy Nothing in life ever comes easy. On the tennis court, a player has to battle more than just his opponent in order to secure a win. In the end, it boils down to the extent of the hard yards a player is willing to put in, in order to make wins a part of his tennis-playing trajectory.
5) Push past setbacks Just as success isn’t easy in coming, obstacles and challenges creep up quickly in one’s way while trying to complete an objective. For tennis players, injuries, streaks of losses are all part and parcel of this chronicle of setbacks.
At such junctures, players need to will their mind and body to push past these setbacks while trying to get back on the course of resuming play. 6) Fortune favours the bold On the tennis court, innovation’s the name of the game if a player wants to thrive.
History’s proof that the sport itself has evolved. So, players need to evolve their game to meet with the ever-changing requirements of the sport they play. There are several instances where players didn’t feel inclined to make changes, to their game and to their equipment.
They were all swept aside by modernity, and rightly so. 7) Ask for feedback.
A few years ago, the trend of “supercoaches” became the norm in the professional tennis world. The phenomenon referred to the concept of former top players turning into coaches and helping the top-ranked players of the present to keep succeeding, consistently.
All top players including Novak Djokovic, Roger Federer, Rafael Nadal and Andy Murray have had “supercoaches” who helped add to their trophies. The biggest reason that these “supercoaches” were – and are – able to thrive is that these players, despite being the best in the world, didn’t hesitate to ask for help and feedback.
Their understanding that there’s always more to improve helped pave the way for them being lauded as greats of the game. 8) Commitment
It’s important for a tennis player to commit himself. It could be commitment towards bettering his serve, his shot, or even one’s staying power in a match if it goes the distance.
If a player isn’t committed towards his goal, it would be impossible to meet with success, both in the short term and in the long term. 9) Digging deeper’s the only way to forge ahead Rome wasn’t built in a day, is a popular proverb.
In the tennis parlance, it means that no player can hope to perfect his forehand or backhand, or first serve or second serve in a day. It will take hours and hours of practice, and focussed drilling exercises to help one gain mastery over it.
And a tennis player needs to be able to deliver these requirements in order to find success in their shot-making that would go on to make their career, an overwhelming success. 10) Stick to these goals, and reap the reward!
In order to make these measures work, a tennis player needs to do the hard work oneself. As the characters in the book find for themselves, there’s no magical wand that can be waved to make things simpler for anyone.
If a tennis player’s able to sincerely live up to these guidelines, their tennis playing will improve, too. But if a player doesn’t follow these diligently, they’ll have to bear the consequences of doing that, as well.
Our decisions shape our actions and thereby, our consequences. We can’t accept one without the other, whichever way it turns out to be, good or bad. But it’s up to us to ensure that the consequences of our actions follow a healthy chain that’s led by wise decision-making.