The Zone of Enjoyment
Being Scottish, I couldn't help being interested in Andy
Murray's progress during the recent Wimbledon Tennis Championships.
He actually had a very successful tournament, beating Andy
Roddick of America in the 3rd round, before losing to Marcos
Baghdatis of Cyprus in his next match. He really played very
poorly in his match with Baghdatis, however, and was left
feeling utterly confused by the serious lack of spirit and
talent displayed in his own performance. This was in such
sharp contrast to his previous match with Roddick, making
it all the more devastating for Murray and his entire camp.
So, what happened?
Well, I remember Murray talking about the match with Roddick,
during a television interview, the day before it was due to
take place. I was particularly impressed by the statements
that he made stressing that it would be such an honour to
play Roddick, one of his great sporting heroes, on the crowded
Centre Court. After all, Roddick was the current world number
5, the number 3 seed for Wimbledon, and the beaten finalist
in both 2004 and 2005. So, Murray really didn't expect to
beat him, and the media clearly didn't expect him to win either.
To everyone's great surprise, however, Murray played a superb
match, winning by 3 sets to 0. Clearly, he was "in the zone",
to use the expression that is so often used to describe great
sporting performances. Why was he in the zone? Well, the lack
of expectations was certainly a tremendous help. Although
he would dearly love to win the match, and progress to the
next round, there was clearly no need to fear defeat because
everyone expected the American to prevail. Murray was just
so happy to be on the Centre Court playing Roddick, grateful
that he had this wonderful opportunity, and delighted to simply
be involved in this great occasion. He was therefore fully
focussed throughout the match, which seemed to bring a kind
of heightened awareness, allowing him to perform to the very
peak of his talents.
The situation was clearly very different when he turned up
two days later for his match with Marcos Baghdatis, the exciting
young Cypriot. After his terrific victory against Roddick,
the British media and public seemed to assume that Murray
would beat Baghdatis without too much trouble. After all,
Baghdatis was only the number 18 seed, with a world ranking
of 16, and an obvious lack of experience on the grass surface.
Carried away by Murray's victory over Roddick, everyone seemed
to forget that Bhagdatis had reached the Australian Open final
just a few months earlier, where he actually put up a very
impressive performance against the brilliant Roger Federer.
The powerful Cypriot's world ranking was also much higher
than Murray's, while he also had very clear advantages when
it came to physical strength and competitive experience.
To the great dismay of the partisan British crowd, who packed
into the Centre Court, Murray never seemed to be at peace
with himself during any part of this match. Unlike his match
with Roddick, playing Bhagdatis on the famous Centre Court
obviously wasn't seen as much of an honour, as the young Cypriot
hadn't yet earned a place amongst the tennis elite. All that
mattered was winning and advancing to the next round, and
making the quarter final of a Grand Slam tournament for the
very first time. In other words, the result was everything,
an attitude that was clearly in great contrast to the attitude
of appreciation that was so evident in the Roddick clash.
Unfortunately for Murray, Bhagdatis got off to a much better
start, and Murray never really seemed comfortable at any time
during a pretty one-sided encounter. His objective of reaching
the last eight was almost immediately placed in jeopardy,
and the fear that this seemed to generate contributed greatly
to a totally lack-lustre performance, with frequent angry
and petulant outbursts from Murray. No one could possibly
suggest that he was "in the zone" on this occasion, because
the match was painful rather than exhilarating, and his focus
seemed to be all over the place.
Murray's remarks at the TV interview afterwards showed that
he was totally bewildered by his surprisingly inept display.
He just couldn't understand how he could possibly go from
the tremendous heights of Saturday to the excruciating depths
of Monday. So, what went wrong? Well, his attitude to the
match went very badly wrong. Enjoying the occasion was replaced
by far too great a concern about the outcome of the match,
an attitude that exposed the young Scot to the presence of
debilitating fear throughout the entire contest. And, how
can you possibly be in harmony with your existence when the
result of your performance, the victory, assumes a far greater
importance than the performance itself?
Yes, it's true that we can't all be sporting superstars, but
we certainly can discover that simple harmony. And, it is
this inner harmony that is central to the intensely satisfying
experience of "being in the zone". In order to perform at
our best, we need to be fully present where we are, clearly
focussed on whatever we happen to be doing at that particular
moment. Planning for the future certainly shouldn't be neglected,
but whenever we look forward to some future event with too
much passion, wishing that we were there instead of where
we are, we actually take all the good things that are currently
in our life for granted. So, plan for the future as the need
arises, but don't forget to appreciate what's going on in
your life right now.
How, then, can we apply this understanding in our own lives?
Well, what is our principal mode of being? Are we consistently
centred in that place of inner enjoyment and happiness? Or,
are we usually looking forward to some future change in our
circumstances, believing that this change will bring us the
happiness that we cherish? Do we spend much of the working
day looking forward to the time when we can go home? Do we
spend much of the working week wishing that it was Friday?
Do we spend much of our time looking forward to the holidays,
or to retirement? Do we carry out our chores, duties or responsibilities
with reluctance, boredom or frustration? Are our thoughts
focussed on past regrets or future hopes and fears? Then,
clearly, in all of these cases, we are not living in that
wonderful zone of contentment and harmony.
Anyone can enjoy those occasional situations that are entirely
consistent with their wishes. But, it takes real understanding
if we are to consistently live our lives from that simple
place of inner enjoyment. And, that possibility exists for
all of us. When we finally realise that the real enjoyment
is within us, and that it is not dependent on external circumstances,
then that great transformation can finally take place in our
life. We will then have a much higher degree of peace and
hope, qualities that really can be savoured throughout our
daily lives. We will also be grateful for each day, and we
will naturally wish to experience that gratitude in all the
different situations that arise in our lives. So, pursue all
these great qualities in your life if you want to enter that
incredible zone where the real enjoyment is constantly flowing.
Any comments? Billy Nicol can be contacted at this
email address: firstname.lastname@example.org.
How did I find the zone of enjoyment? Well, you can have a
look at these 2 websites: http://www.contact-info.net
People from the UK can visit this website: http://www.wordsofpeace.net
Article Source: http://www.amazines.com/
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