Tuesday, August 10, 2010

"I would never want to deprive anybody of the learning experience of losing"

I just finished reading Andre Agassi's book Open. It is a fantastic book and captivated me from the first chapter. I really could not put it down; I took every opportunity I had to read it. I finished the book in less than a week and its almost 400 pages.

I enjoyed seeing him evolve as a person

A lot of people I’ve talked to it didn’t like how negative he was about playing a game he was amazing at. He talks a lot about hating tennis throughout the book, but that didn’t bother me at all. I felt that he was a troubled person trying to do the best he could in the situation he was in.

I empathized with him having to do something he didn’t totally enjoy because he was good at it and didn’t feel like he had an alternative. I enjoyed seeing how he evolved with from being a confused or maybe lost boy, to a rebel teenager, to an adult, all the while trying to find himself. I loved the fact that he ultimately channeled his passion into building a K-12 charter school for underprivileged kids. I find that to be an incredible quality to admire.

Career ups and downs

He had a lot of ups and downs in his career. He went from being number one in the world to not being ranked, back to being ranked and etcetera. During one of his upward slopes, he beat a guy in the first round of the 2005 US Open in 61 minutes. The following is word for word from the book:

“Reporters say it was a massacre. They ask me if I feel bad about beating him.
I say: I would never want to deprive someone of the learning experience of losing.
They laugh.
I’m serious.”

You would have to have read his book to appreciate how great that was to come out of him.

I’ve never really thought about losing being an ultimate win

Agassi talked a lot about his tournament losses and how they shaped and affected him. I’ve thought about that line a lot and I believe it to be really true. I feel losses make us exponentially better. The losses could be sports related as were those mentioned in Agassi’s book, but they could also be life losses or any other kind.

I believe that at the heart of every loss there is a win for us if we can see it. I feel that losing sometimes allows us the opportunity to see how much we really had wanted something and therefore appreciate it when we do win. It may also make us work harder and give it our all. I belong to a tennis league and I always joke that the social hour is so much more fun after a win, but I can’t deny the benefits of losing as well.

Your thoughts ... I'd love to hear them

I’d love to hear your thoughts on this post. You may leave a comment below, email me to mary@marysalfi.com or find me on Facebook by becoming a fan of marysalfi.com

Going to give it my best at tomorrow night’s match!

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