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Sanity in an age of Intensity – Part 3

On the other hand when we ‘Receive’ grace, and lead a life of quiet acceptance, we align our body and mind to the universe. If my foundational existence is that of self-acceptance, I am contended. In that state I give my best; then even my profession becomes a spiritual experience. I am grateful in victory and gracious in defeat; there’s no fear of the enemy because I am complete. I don’t need the world to endorse my views, fans to applaud my success or television coverage to make me feel worthy. The basic point is: if I internally love and accept myself, I will attract even external success. However the reverse theory that is notoriously common is extremely dangerous. Most people imagine external success will help them achieve inner acceptance. Their self-worth is unfortunately dependent on a gold medal, rather than their own goodness.

Need to handle emotions

It’s the heart that eventually matters. How we handle our emotions and belief systems determine our sanity in this world of intensity.

Let’s see another legend Roger Federer who has won twenty grand slam titles, the highest by any male player. His secret? Former coach Paul Annacone revealed that Federer has trained himself to switch his emotions.  He feels jubilant in victory and also sad at his losses, yet his emotions don’t drown him. So strong and connected is he to his own inner belief systems that even after two decades of professional tennis, he is still on the top. Early in his career he would get angry on court and throw his racket. But he learnt his lessons well, and along with mental toughness, his main focus is on playing the game because he enjoys it. That’s the first and most important principle.

When we do what we do because we love it, and not because of the awards that come with it, we are guaranteed a life-enhancing experience and even external success. But if fear or other extraneous factors motivate us, our achievements will be life-alienating; we will not be happy despite measurable success. That explains why many Chinese Olympic athletes are unhappy and wish they weren’t part of the mad race for medals. China’s obsession to win at the Olympics and seek national honour has taken a heavy toll on the mental health of their athletes.It’s one thing to plan and have a vision to succeed but at the same time we need to let go of our ideas and learn ‘Acceptance’ when the universe throws up another plot. 

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