Andre Agassi found himself at a point in his career when he nearly retired because he was burned out and disinterested in the game of tennis. He was consistently losing and realized the approach he was taking to his sport was no longer adequate. Rather than going through the motions and continuing on a path on inevitable failure, Agassi decided to adapt a remarkable strategy to resurrecting his career. Instead of merely trying to improve on the aspects that were failing him, he decided to relearn the game as if he was picking up a racquet for the first time. I haven’t read many sports biographies, but I would highly recommend reading “Open.” (I was not paid for this plug, hehe)
My learned behavior has been incredibly difficult to change. I readily admit that I would employ the service of a professional to help address the extent and magnitude of my bad habits if only I could afford that luxury. Instead I rely on the opinions and suggestion given by friends, family and acquaintances and based on my own personal reflections. I have had many profound conversations with friends in restaurants, bars and coffee shops that I swore would be life changing at the moment. I can’t even begin to image how many times I left a conversation with the feeling that I had discovered a new and fresh perspective that would allow me to change my life and transcend it into a new realm.
To my dismay, when the morning sun rose the next day and the challenges of life were once against imminent, I hastily forget the impact of the previous night’s liberating conversation and reverted back into the familiar zone that has provided comfort and stability. Regardless of the time period during my life, the behavior I had learned and exhibited to that particular point had allowed me to get through the day without the feeling of being an utter failure. The comfortable feeling of being average is just enough to get through most days. However the tolerance being average eventually evolves into an ominous feeling of inadequacy. My inherent characteristics will never allow me to feel a sense of achievement based purely and on mediocrity.
Last night I had another one of these conversations with friends while having dinner out in Cuyahoga Falls. Life doesn’t get better (to me) than three friends sitting around talking about the intricacies of life and dynamics of personal relationship. I was able to come to the conclusion that it’s necessary to start from the beginning (like Agassi) because I have realized that behavior I am exhibiting in a specific facet in my life is not working to my satisfaction. This behavior is causing me to lose respect in myself and be taken advantage of by certain people and in different situations. This is not an instance when I know I am close to finding the right formula and I merely need to tweak it to obtain a desired result. This is an aspect of my life that needs rewired, revamped, reworked and learned over. It may not get better than having great dialog with friends but these moments that provide clarity and motivation become futile if they perishes with the conversation. The challenge now becomes; what will I do today to begin eradicating this learned behavior and adapting a new approach?