Once upon a time, the animals decided that they should do something meaningful to meet the problems of the new world, so they organised a school. They adopted an activity curriculum of running, climbing, swimming and flying. To make it easier to administer, all of the animals took all of the subjects.
The duck was excellent at swimming. In fact, he was better than his instructor. However, he made only passing marks in flying and was very poor at running. Since he was so slow in running, he had to drop his swimming class and do extra running. This caused his webbed feet to become badly worn, meaning that he dropped to an average mark in swimming. Fortunately, “average” was acceptable, therefore nobody worried about it – except the duck.
The rabbit started at the top of the class in running, but developed a nervous twitch in his leg muscles because he had so much makeup work to do in swimming. The squirrel was excellent in climbing, but he encountered constant frustration in flying class because his teacher insisted that he start from the ground up instead of from the treetop down. He developed cramps from overexertion, so he ended up with a C in climbing and a D in running.
The eagle was a real problem student and was severely disciplined for being a non-conformist. In climbing class, he beat all of the others to the top, but insisted on using his own way of getting there!
The principle here is that we each have our own strengths and need to be working hard to maximise them, not handicap our potential by becoming good at something that isn’t natural for us
Who are you?
Who are you? Are you a duck, rabbit, squirrel, or an eagle? Just kidding! But on a more serious note this story is about you, and through this you should understand that you all are so different from each other and that no two athletes are the same, even though they are playing the same game. Every individual is so different from another and that makes every individual unique and special. You are unique and you are special! And what is this uniqueness? Well it’s you who have to find it out, and I can only help but you have to find it because you know yourself better that anybody else. The way you talk, walk, hold your bat/racket, play your shots, understand and, respond to the situation etc. all are different from the rest of the players. And that difference is your uniqueness. The way you do things, become your signature. That signature is unique and special. You may evaluate your performance after every game but you cannot evaluate your uniqueness.
You have your strengths, and you have your weaknesses, accept them not just strengths but also weaknesses, consider your weakness as an opportunity that will help you improve your game, do not run away from them, they are all yours but also remember they are not YOU. Most of the times you confuse yourself by considering your strengths and weaknesses as you or your uniqueness. And thus place your confidence on your strength and weakness like when you know that you are stronger than your opponent or you have some advantage over your opponent in the game then suddenly your level of confidence shoots up. But when in the match if you realise that it’s not that easy to beat your opponent as you thought earlier, and that he has improved a lot from his past performance you suddenly see a deep steep drop in your level of confidence. Thus your confidence level keeps fluctuating throughout the match or tournament. But if you place your confidence on your uniqueness (your ‘SELF’/ ‘TRUE SELF’) then the level of your confidence will not get affected by the result or the advantages. Finding this uniqueness or true self is the key to consistent good performance.
Your work is to discover your world and then with all your heart give yourself to it
Creating a niche for yourself
We all have idols, role models, or people who inspire us; in our earlier stages of our career we try to copy their game, style on and off the field. One of my friends who is a first class cricketer use to have this ‘player of the week’ thing. ‘Player of the week’ for him was like whichever international player has had performed best in that week he would copy that player and he would be that player for a week, so one week he was Sachin Tendulkar, another week he was Michal Clarke, then Rahul Dravid and so on and so forth. It is not wrong to copy your idol but it is more important to find your own style, your uniqueness! If you keep on copying your idol and do not discover your signature, your uniqueness then you are finished, nobody needs you, as you are not adding anything new in the game.
I always hear players say when they don’t get selected in the team, “you know what; s/he has taken my place in the team, next season I’ll take his/her”. I wonder if they are playing musical chair. Do you think can anybody ever take Sachin Tendulkar, Michael Schumacher, Roger Federer, Vishwanathan Anand, or Lance Armstrong’s place? Never because they have created a niche for themselves, they have created a place for themselves, which nobody can take. Its about understanding who you are and what and how you enjoy your game. When you find your signature, your uniqueness you will come to know that your competition is not with others but it’s with yourself and then when you start beating your past records a day will come when no body would dare to take your place, and it will be always yours. The day you realise this you will accept your weaknesses as you accept your strengths. Find out your uniqueness, find out what makes you special, find out your signature and create a niche for yourself which no can take away from you. Be proud of who you are, stop copying or emulating others…… just be YOURSELF!!
Always be a first rate version of yourself, instead of a second rate version of somebody else
I AM WHAT I AM…