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Beating the Odds

Winning the Battle of Thoughts

How do you even begin to talk about Novak Djokovic’s epic victory over Rafael Nadal in the Australian Open final?

It lasted five hours, 53 minutes, nearly as long as the marriage between Kris Humphries and Kim Kardashian.

Both Djokovic and Nadal gave everything they had. At one point, after losing a 31-stroke rally, Djokovic lay prone on the court, seemingly spent. Within that moment he gave us a clue to help us through difficult times.

“Thousand thoughts going through the mind,” Djokovic said. “Trying to separate the right from wrong.”

Djokovic was describing something that he and all of us have in common. We all have thoughts racing through our mind. Some of them are good, some are bad. It’s our job to separate the two.

For instance, you can be tempted to think about the final score. It’s much more productive to think about the next point. You can worry about what happened, or you can keep your mind in the present. It’s all choice.

Djokovic, in other words, conquered his own thoughts as much as he defeated Nadal. It was mental toughness.

My favorite quote is: “Some people think the battle is against others. Winners understand the struggle is within the self.”

If you can win the struggle to stay focused on productive thoughts, the battle with others will go much more smoothly.

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TotalGamePlan offers Winner’s Workshops for schools, sports teams and businesses. The emphasis is on motivation, skill-building and teamwork. To bring a Winner’s Workshop to your group, just email coachtully@totalgameplan.com or call (973) 800-5836. To order a copy of “Ten Things Great Coaches Know,” click here.


2 comments for “Winning the Battle of Thoughts”

  1. Hi Mike. I also love your favourite quote. When I am working with athletes, I also work with this technique through the profound relaxation technique of Yoga Nidra , where the athlete begins to set the seed of success from with-in.

    Posted by Paulette Egan | February 3, 2012, 7:59 pm
  2. Hi!. Thanks for your comment. I’m looking forward to looking at your Web site and learning more about what you do for athletes.

    Posted by Coach Tully | February 4, 2012, 1:58 pm

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