Sometimes you just get lucky; usually, however, there is a lot more to it.
As you may have guessed from the picture at the top of the page, this week I’m going to talk about Rafael Nadal winning his eighth French Open tennis title and the fact that the man has now come out on top in 59 of the 60 matches he has played in nine years at that clay court tournament.
You have to get a few breaks to do something like that.
For example, this year Nadal was down a break in the fifth and deciding set of his semifinal match against world number one Novak Djokovic when the Serbian touched the net while smashing what should have been an easy winner.
That mistake gave Nadal the chance to break back.
Had Djokovic simply bounced the ball over Nadal’s head instead of running around it to get an extreme angle he probably would have held serve and gone on to win the match… but maybe not.
You see Nadal chased down and returned an incredible number of potential winners in that match so there was always pressure on the Serb to go for something extra.
Like the saying goes; the harder you work, the luckier you get.
The reason I’m telling you all this tennis stuff is that it follows on nicely from what I was talking about last week when I stressed how important it is to place yourself in the right position to succeed.
That’s what Nadal did, and as I also mentioned last week, it was a lot of hard work.
He ran and he ran, and he worked and he worked.
Not just during the match against Djokovic but during the eight month knee rehabilitation that led up to the French Open, in practice and throughout his career.
All right, you might question why someone who has billions of pula – probably billions of US dollars – stashed away still wants to work so hard to make a few more bucks and win a few more tennis matches; I certainly do, but the important thing to recognize is that his success has very little to do with luck.
Anyway, I have a great deal of respect for Nadal and his work ethic and I imagine he would be very good at whatever he chose to do.
Interestingly, though, the Spanish tennis star may not be so certain about that.
After his latest triumph he was asked about his knee problems and if he ever doubted he would be able to get back to his best form.
“Doubts are part of this life,” he said, “people who don’t have doubts are arrogant.”
I think that sentiment can be applied to the things I’ve been talking about for the past two weeks.
Sure confidence is important; we should expect to do well at whatever we do, but we also need to hold onto a few doubts.
If we don’t, we risk becoming overconfident and arrogant and we will very likely stop doing all the work that is necessary to put ourselves in a position to succeed.
And when that happens our luck will most probably run out.