Message #53 Know Thyself

Today’s message is dedicated to the great Carina Chivulescu and Chynna Lucas.

Do you truly know WHO you are? Have you taken the time to figure out WHO you are and WHAT you want out of life? If you you haven’t, you are just spinning your wheels and existing…seeing what life brings you. Do you want to continue that, or live a FULFILLING life? One of the secrets of life is that you need to have a true purpose in life and everything you do goes towards that purpose. With this “laser” focus, you will achieve greatness. We live in a society that is so fast-paced that we are just “too busy” to take time to figure out who we are and what we want. We’re only on this planet a short while…don’t you think we should make the most of it? And leave the world a better place than when we entered it? If you’re “too busy” to make time for figuring yourself and your PLAN out, you’re just “TOO BUSY.” The successful people in life tend to SLOW things down. They play the game at THEIR speed. Then, life isn’t so face-paced and you can begin to enjoy and have gratitude for all that you have and all that you will accomplish. Appreciate the little things.

Kyle Maynard is a high school wrestler. He is one of the top wrestlers in his state. Are you impressed? Did I mention that Kyle has no arms or leg? Kyle is an inspiration to me not because of how he physically adjusts for his disability, but how he MENTALLY adjusts. He doesn’t see himself and any different. He gives it his all. He does whatever it takes. After watching him in wrestling and everyday life, I know I will never complain about anything in MY life ever again.

Get to know yourself. Know your own feelings, passions, and prejudices so you can separate them from what you see. Know also when you actually have thought through to the nature of the thing with which you are dealing and when you are not thinking at all…Knowing yourself and knowing the facts, you can judge whether you can change the situation so it is more to your liking. If you cannot-or if you do not know how to improve on things-then discipline yourself to the adjustments that will be necessary.

-Bernard M. Baruch, financier

Homework: Take some time today to figure out WHO you truly are and WHAT you truly want.

Message #52 I Will Not Should on Myself Today…

Do you have the word should in your vocabulary?

Today’s message is dedicated to the great Sarah Allen.

Many of us are guilty of using the word should constantly in everyday life. There is no “should”…in my opinion, if something is a should, make it a “must.” To everyone’s defense, people are busy and don’t have time for everything. But first of all, if you’re too busy…YOU’RE TOO BUSY.

People say the SHOULD go exercise or SHOULD quit smoking, but then you see them a few months later and ask them about it and guess what? They totally forgot about it! Don’t assume that just because you say should, you will do it. If you make it a “must” it sounds like it’s more paramount and you will get it done. Remember, don’t “try your best”…do “whatever it takes.”

Assume a dog’s tail is a leg…How many legs does a dog have?

Most people say 5. The correct answer is 4. Just because you ASSUME a dog’s tail is a leg, doesn’t mean it IS a leg. Don’t assume you’re going to do something just because you said you SHOULD.

Homework: Try to go all day without saying the word “should.” Heck, make it fun and count how many times OTHER people say the word “should.”

Message #51 Are You Motivated?

Are you a motivated person?

This post is especially dedicated to the great Ben Rathauser, a tennis player who is not IN tennis but INTO tennis.

“Motivation is like taking a shower. It feels good and refreshing, but you need to take a new one every day.”

Change is not about ability, it’s about motivation. If you are motivated to do something, you WILL do it. The problem is, that most people do things according to their feelings. Here’s a story…

There was this father…his daughter had this rare kidney disease. The only person that was able to be a donor for the daughter was the father. But there was one problem…the doctors wouldn’t let them go ahead with the operation because the father weighed 300 lbs. So the father asked the doctors how much time his daughter had. They said about 12 months. He then asked the doctors how much weight he needed to lose. They told him 80 lbs. So the father proceeded to lose 85 lbs in just 11 months! They ended up performing a successful surgery. Afterwards someone asked the father if it was hard to lose all that weight, and he said, “No, I didn’t even think about it. I just did it because I knew I had to.” So turn yourshoulds into musts.

So you can do anything, if you have the right motivation. Will is more important than skill.

Homework: What are you waiting for?…Just do it!

Message #50 Find True Happiness…Help Others

The only way to find true happiness is to help others.

Today’s post is especially dedicated to my team captains, Jen Aquaro and Renee Francisco.

We live in a society that is looking for true happiness, but many of us are focused on the wrong things. We are so busy that we are looking for a quick fix, instead of looking for LASTING happiness. If your serve is terrible, but you only like practicing your forehand, guess what, your serve isn’t getting any better. Money, status, winning, materialistic things, a cute tennis outfit and popularity will not bring you true happiness. That is only temporary happiness. Look at all the miserable successful businessmen/women. Look at all the pressure on students. Look at the divorse rate. How about the addictions…drug/alcohol/smoking problems? Everyone is trying to have pleasure and avoid pain, but not too many trying to make a difference or do something lasting. This is the hedonistic approach. Are you in life, or are you INTO life? The thing that will help us attain true happiness, in my opinion, is helping others. We need to find someone that is worse off than us, help them and we will reap the benefits. The reason why this works is because we are making a difference; because when we help someone else, something magical happens, OUR troubles go away and as a result, WE become HAPPY. If you appreciate all that you have, and you help others, no one can take that away. Research has shown that when teenagers volunteer, they reap the health benefits (happiness) for as long as 50-60 years. The list below are some of my favorite ways to make a difference…

Open a door for someone.
Be nice to everyone, even if they’re not so nice to you.
Before you go into a store, ask a homeless person if they want anything.
Read to the blind.
Let someone cut in front of you during rush hour traffic.
Give a tip to or encourage the least skilled player on your team.
Call your parents.
Be nice to the freshmen in your school.
Visit a retirement center.
Leave a “thank you” note for the cleaning staff at work.
Recommend a good book to someone.
Dance with someone who hasn’t been asked.
Figure out someone’s half-birthday by adding 182 days and surprise them with a cake.
Ask someone about their children.
Join Tuesday’s Children and mentor a child that lost a parent in 9/11…tell them Ed Tseng sent you.
Brush the snow off of the car next to yours.
Tell someone which quality you like most about them.
Pay for a stranger’s cup of coffee without them knowing it.
Ask to see a store’s manager and comment on the great service.
Wave to a child in the car next to you.
Let someone else have the last slice of pizza or bite of dessert.
Catch someone doing something good, and compliment them.
Encourage someone’s dream, no matter how big or small.
Personally invite someone new at work or school to have lunch with you.
Tell someone you believe in them.
Leave a waiter or waitress a big tip.
Ask an elderly person to tell you about the “good ole days.”
Give up your seat on the rush hour train.
Be a mentor or coach to someone.
Leave a joke on someone’s voicemail.
Give blood.
Wave to someone looking for a parking place when you’re about to leave a shopping center.
Compliment a coworker on their role in a successful project.
Tell a child you’re proud of them.
E-mail a friend some information about a topic they are especially interested in.
Drop off some cookies for your local fire or police department.
Stop and buy a drink from a child’s lemonade stand.

“If you think you’re too small to make an impact, try going to bed with a mosquito in the room.” – Anita Roddick

Homework: Print out the list above and add your own favorite ways to help people. Do at least 3 a day and watch your life change…you will achieve true happiness.

Success Leaves Clues…

Tony Robbins said, “Success leaves clues.”

This post is dedicated to the great Erika Hawxhurst.

Whatever you want to become successful at, I don’t care what it is, it is POSSIBLE. Do you know why? Because it’s been done before! If you want to become a great tennis player, there are other great ones out there. If you want to become a millionaire, there are many out there, as well. If you want to be the best student, there have been many successful students in history. “Success leaves clues.” This means that there is a lot of information out there, like books written by the great ones, articles on the Internet, you may even know some people who have done what you want to achieve. So read up…ask questions…seek out the successful people. Ask them what they’ve done, what tips they have for you and what mistakes they’ve learned from.

I learned how to teach tennis from the great Colleen Cosgrove and Judy Vogt, then I became Pro of the Year. I learned how to give a great motivational seminar from one of the top motivational speakers in the world, Dr. Rob Gilbert and other successful speakers/motivators, then I started giving seminars with Dr. Gilbert and now within the next 3 months, I will be speaking at MIT, Ferris State University, and several locations in Los Angeles and San Francisco. When you learn from the great ones, you learn what they have learned in a fraction of the time. AND you don’t have to do all the research yourself.

Here are some tips to seek out clues…

1. Seek out a teacher, coach, mentor; a manual, book or audio program; or an Internet resource to help you achieve one of your major goals.

2. Seek out someone who has already done what you want to do, and ask the person if you can interview him or her for half an hour on how you should best proceed.

3. Ask someone if you can shadow them for a day and watch them work. Or offer to be a volunteer, assistant, or intern for someone you think you can learn from.

By Jack Canfield

Homework: Figure out your goals and start seeking clues…

Visiting the Masters…

This post is especially dedicated to my father, the great Vincent Tseng.

What do great painters, athletes, students, businessmen/women, sculptors, chefs, writers, actors have in common? Perseverance.

“Like a postage stamp, stick to one thing until you get there.”

I recently went to The Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City. It had been a while since I was last there and honestly, I was like a kid in a candy store. I’m a sucker for history and art and mastery. I saw ancient Egyptian art and ruins, tombs, photographs from the 1800s, priceless paintings, Buddhas from ancient China, a guardian lion statue from the 6th century. As I was walking amongst all of this history and brilliance, I couldn’t help but think, “These people were all masters.”

But guess what? These were all ordinary people, but the difference between those masters and you, is that THEY were persistent and consistent. And they knew the correct strategy. You think Rembrandt had different resources than you do today? Nope, I’m pretty sure he didn’t have “magic” paint. Does Steven King use a different dictionary than you? Of course not. So the tools are the same, but you need to know the strategy and then do whatever it takes. You can try your best, OR you can do whatever it takes. Which would you choose?

As I was walking around the museum, I thought, “Wow, everywhere I look, I see masters.” And you know what? I felt that even the people VISITING the museum were masters or potential masters. So the great athlete is inside you, the great painter is inside you, the great student is inside you and the great worker is inside you…you just need to know the strategy and then persist until you get the result you want.

Thanks, Dad.

Homework: I challenge you to become a master at whatever you do…

Mental Training Secrets From The Far East…

This post is dedicated to the great Annamarie Giurano.

Tomaz Mencinger, sports psychology expert, originally from Slovenia works at the Tennis Academy of Asia in Thailand as a tennis coach and mental training coach for all levels of players.

I asked Tomaz to share his insights and experiences with me by answering the following questions…

1. What do you feel is the most important aspect of tennis? Why?

The answer is not simple since if you miss one part of tennis (fitness for example) you can’t play at all. So I believe there are different aspects of tennis that are most important at different stages of learning. For beginners, it’s coordination, ball judgment and feel. If they have these, they will learn good technnique and be able to rally. For advanced players, who have mastered the physical and technical part of the game (which 99% of the players who practice for 10 years can achieve) it’s the mental part. One part of that is the thinking part – tennis strategy and the other part is the mental toughness part, where the player has to control his own mind in order to play his best tennis. The main issues in the mental part are how to overcome the fear of losing, dealing with pressure, dealing with distractions and controlling emotions overall.

2. How can you instantly improve your tennis game?

I’ve seen the best results with video analysis where the player for the first time saw their movement and footwork. The improvement was instant when they went back on court.The other way is with a tactical tip that exploits opponent’s weakness. The match can change from 2:6 to 6:2 by only placing (or serving) the ball in a different spot.

3. What does it take to become a great tennis player?

First, the fundamentals: physical preparation (reactions, speed, coordination, stamina, explosive strength, …) and excellent technique and ability to play all the shots from different incoming balls. Second, understanding general tennis strategy and tactical variations. And third, the ability to control the mind. The human mind thinks by itself even if we don’t want it to. (try not to think for 1 minute and you’ll see) The player must be able to observe and select which thoughts are useful and which are not and remove or replace them. The player must also be able to stop thinking and let the subsconscious mind control the body as it has been trained for years.

Homework: Take all the tips from Tomaz that apply to your game and write them down on an index card and keep it in your tennis bag. Read it before you play or practice.

Thanks, Tomaz.

Don’t Be a Head Case…

This message is especially dedicated to the great Rida Alvi.

“Human beings, by changing the inner attitudes of their minds, can change the outer aspects of their lives.”

The only thing holding you back from what you want in life is the story that you are telling yourself. But here’s the rub…because up to 80% of what we do in life is habitual, many times you don’t even know the things going on in your head. Remember, if you continue to do what you’ve always done, you’ll get what you’ve always gotten. So try to really LISTEN to what you are telling yourself. Every day, much of what I hear from people is negative. Negative comments, sounds, and body language.

Here’s the law of attraction at work…just seconds ago, someone showed me a flowchart for completing a project. Now, the steps themselves were helpful and if completed, you go down to the next step. However, if the steps were not taken, to the right of the box there is a big “NO.” There are 7 “NO’s” on the page. Looking at the page, you just see a bunch of no’s. And guess what? This flowchart if for a psychology program!!! Don’t these people know that your subconscious mind will register all those no’s as negatives and can result in discouragement and even despair? There is not ONE yes on the page. So I say, either put some yes’s, or don’t put no at all.

The point is, not only do YOU tell yourself negative things, OTHER people do as well. People tell you, “You CAN’T do this.” or “You CAN’T do that.” And then you watch the evening news and all they’re showing is terrorism and shootings. The good news is that this is all EXTERNAL stuff. Nothing external has any influence over you. It’s not what’s happening to you, it’s not what’s happening around you, it’s what’s happening INSIDE you.

Homework: Focus on the positives in life and you will get more of that.

One of the Most Important Aspect of Sports/Life…Self-Confidence

This post is dedicated to the great Joey Clawson and family…my deepest condolences. Joe Clawson, one of my Special Olympics students, overcame great odds and played on the Ewing High Tennis Team. This past June, Joey won a gold medal at The Special Olympics Summer Games. He also got accepted into The College of New Jersey, where he is now taking classes. His wonderful mother, Kathy passed away yesterday morning. Joey, thank you for being an inspiration to me, but more importantly, thank you for being a friend. To Joey’s family, please let me know if I can do anything.

The following poem is from Napoleon Hill’s classic, Law of Success in 1928. It applies today just as much as it did then. Why? Because it’s TRUE and it WORKS!

If you think you are beaten, you are;
If you think you dare not, you don’t;
If you like to win, but you think you can’t,
It is almost certain you won’t.

If you think you’ll lose, you’ve lost,
For out of the world we find
Success begins with a fellow’s will-
It’s all in the state of mind.

If you think you are outclassed, you are-
You’ve got to think high to rise.
You’ve got to be sure of yourself before
You can ever win a prize.

Life’s battles don’t always go
To the stronger or faster man;
But soon or late the man who wins
Is the man who thinks he can.

Homework: Either memorize this poem or type it up and put it where you can read it at least once a day. (Bookbag, athletic bag, briefcase, etc)

I Second That Emotion…

So do you want to know how to beat a lie detector test? It’s actually quite simple…if your body (physiology) is acting in belief of what you are saying, you will actually believe it and beat the test. Don’t get me wrong, I am NOT saying you should start lying and ACT like you believe it. I want you to use it in a POSITIVE way. So how, exactly does this relate to sports and life? If you want to be successful, just start ACTING successful. If you smile on the outside, you will feel good on the inside. If you want to become a great athlete, just COPY the physiology of a great athlete. It could be on TV. Try to duplicate EXACTLY what their body is doing, including their facial expressions. This works for business as well…copy the physiology of someone great in your field. In school, copy the physiology of the top student in your class and you will start feeling the same feelings as them. This is pretty amazing stuff.

There has been many accounts where someone was diagnosed with an illness, a life threatening illness, and that person refused to believe it and just watched funny movies, TV shows and read funny books. These people began to change their internal states and it began to show physically, as they achieved full recovery.

The problem is, though, with most people is that their physiology is dictated by their feelings. It doesn’t have to be that way. Act they way you want to feel and you will feel the way you act. If you are in a bad mood on the playing field or in the office or in the classroom, take note of what your body language is like. Then, ACT like you WANT to act and you will instantly change your mood.

Homework: Start acting the way you want to feel today! After all, feelings are just feelings. Watch the video below of people who could have easily had different feelings.