I love the game of tennis. There have been some great players as well as personalities. I like the idea of hitting a ball with such ferocity and velocity. And, I most certainly appreciate the mix of intuition and strategy. Many years I ago I wrote about how tennis has some psychological lessons for the workplace– particularly as it pertains to angry co-workers.
In watching Naomi Osaka rally to win the US Open, I got to thinking again about tennis and life lessons. I started thinking about the phrase “return of serve”. Arguably, returning a serve is one of the most important – if not the most important- shot in tennis. It shows your power, sets a possible tone of dominance, and can be either be used defensively or put you on the offense. If one wants to play tennis well, one must return serve well. Period.
As I watched the matches this week, I thought specifically about returning serve. Or in real, day-to-day life how one returns the “serves” of others. How do you handle when other’s serve you anger or happiness? Specifically, how do you return anger? One can handle it deftly. One can return it just as ferociously? One can return it softly into a corner. Drive it elsewhere. At times, it pays off mentally to just return it in such a way to take the speed off of it. Just to mix in another metaphor. Don’t feed it.