History is replete with instances, where a human reached the pinnacle of his chosen profession, without seemingly possessing the typical traits of a winner.
Arnold Schwarzenegger is a perfect example. If you heard him say, that he wanted to be Hollywood hero, you would have laughed, if you knew anything about him. He had a heavy accent, still does, and was a champion body builder.
That’s not a typical profile of a successful Hollywood hero. In fact, each one of his qualifications, went against the standard mould of an acclaimed actor. Many bodybuilders in the past, had tried their luck at acting, but were relegated to side roles.
There was so much working against him, that it was impossible to see him getting anything other than some side roles of a tough guy in the background. So what was it, that turned everything that was negative, into positive, to create one of the most memorable Hollywood action figures of all time.
And then he did it again, the second time, to turn cold turkey and become the governor of California. Is it just luck? Maybe, some of it sprinkled here and there, but that cannot get you the success he has had in three totally isolated professions, he has chosen and succeeded at.
How about Lance Armstrong? Perfect profile of a champion cyclist? Far from it. Larry Bird? Jesse Owens? Joe Louis? Jackie Robinson? Rod Laver? The list is endless.
When desire becomes a burning obsession, it not only removes every obstacle from the path, it converts those obstacles into props, to move you up the ladder of success.
That’s what happened to Sampras after he lost to Edberg, to Federer after he beat Sampras etc. etc. That’s the switch, when turned on, leads the individual to a glorious journey. That’s what a Safin and a Baghdatis will never understand.
Without that burning desire, you are trying to navigate a ocean with a small boat. Sooner or later, it is destined to crash. Strong desire will bring strong results, and vice versa.
You don’t believe it? Just look around your own life, and notice the people who are succeeding in your family or neighborhood. They are possessed with this gift, that is driving them upward.
Talent is just a small part of the rubric. Strong desire can overcome huge hurdles, including lack of talent, within reason. You think, Lendl was one of the most talented tennis players. Not even close. Maybe McEnroe was, but he was missing the main ingredient.
Or was Sampras the most talented of the whole bunch? Not at all. If you have followed Federer’s game closely, you know it is not true. Despite the wooden rackets, and all the other crap of the ‘shut’ era, you think Laver had a better profile on paper than Emerson, as a potential winner of two calendar Grand Slams? He was 5’8″, with six footers all around him.
The freaking point is this: Federer is not winning, so consistently, mainly because of this dazzling and dynamic talent. That cannot sustain this long a run alone. It’s his strong desire, from which emanates everything, including talent, physical fitness, mental toughness, smarts to take breaks when required, you name it. That’s the root, which brings the whole package together, like an orchestra coming together to produce a masterpiece. Just talent cannot achieve that. McEnroe, Safin, Agassi, etc. are glaring examples, as ample testament.
This is the stage, when your desire becomes so intense, that it starts to burn into heat. Not just any heat – white heat. An absolute obsession. If you have never experienced that ever in your life, you have not lived.
You think, Tiger Woods possesses it? You bet. There has never been a golfer who has achieved so much so early in life. Does he fit a typical profile of a successful golfer? You’ve got to be freaking kidding me!!!!!!!!
There may come a few Djokovics here, and few Nadals there, but unless anyone of them is armed with that intangible gift, of white heat burning desire, these Federer records are not going anywhere.
Talent, hard work, practice, blah, blah, blah, will get you a Grand Slam here and there, make you some decent money, but the big prize demands that streak of fierce heat, before it will give in.
Check out this related post also, ‘What is that number in Federer’s mind on the no. of GS/titles?