“Ninety percent of my game is mental. It’s my concentration that has gotten me this far.”
– Chris Evert
I always thought blinders on horses were cruel, but I’m having second thoughts.
As Americans, we live in a very distracting society. We have responsibilities that are often bewildering and draining: family, job, finances, health, church, and friends all compete for our time and attention. If we do not have our eyes fixed steadfastly on the goal line, there will always be people who have other agendas for our lives. Our best life will elude us unless we can learn how to go through life wearing blinders against the distractions Tennis phenomenon Venus Williams is known for her focus and determination. Throughout her career, this two-time Olympic gold medalist has encountered many hurdles and criticisms, but she’s refused to let these distract her from tennis excellence.
In 2002 Venus attained her personal goal, which was to be ranked number one in the Women’s Tennis Association. This was after winning at Wimbledon in 2000 and then defending her title there and at the U.S. Open. Since then, she has won the Wimbledon singles title five times. At the time this book was published, she had won 21 Grand Slam titles.
“I never thought anyone was better than me,” Venus once commented in a New York Times interview. “Once you do that you lose.”
I want the focus and tenacity of Venus Williams. Instead of being worried or distracted by the obstacles in my way, I want to keep my eyes on the primary purpose for my life. Instead of zigging and zagging through life, I want to take the straightest line to the end zone. I don’t want to let anything or anyone stop me in my mission.
When people ask us to participate in a certain activity, we have to ask ourselves: Would this activity lead me in the direction of the goal line for my life? As German writer and artist Johann Wolfgang von Goethe reminds us, “Things that matter most must never be at the mercy of things that matter least.”
But this isn’t easy to sort out unless we have a clear mission for our life. A personal mission statement provides us with a set of blinders, allowing us to block distractions and focus on actions that are in line with our calling and purpose in life.