I just got done watching the Wimbledon men’s championship – Roger Federer versus Andy Murray. I used to watch tennis a lot when I was younger, especially around my high school years. At that time, I agreed with the announcers whole-heartedly when they talked about a player being “old” at age 30. Thirty seemed ancient. Now that I’m a bit past 30, the fact that I’m older than Roger Federer is kind of depressing. Even more strange is that people were kind of expecting Federer to crash and burn this year at Wimbledon. He’s almost 31. He has twin girls. People were thinking his run was over.
Against that backdrop, the announcers noted, as Federer headed towards championship point, that he had talked about wanting to get his 7th Wimbledon win from the time the tournament started. He had also made it no secret that he wanted to get back to being the #1 male player in the world (which he now is). The announcers expressed some surprise about this. It seemed odd that a player would so openly voice his hopes and dreams. Most players shy away from saying such things because they don’t want to jinx themselves, or maybe because they don’t want to have to eat their words.
I tend to think this phenomenon is not restricted to tennis or even athletes. I think we are all hesitant to say that we are going for something. We don’t want to say we’re aiming to get rich. We don’t want to say we hope to be president of our company or of our nation or of the world one day. We don’t want to give a name to our goals. Now why is that? Are we afraid we’re going to jinx ourselves? I’m not so sure that’s it. I think people frown on ambition. I think people confuse ambition with cockiness or ego. We don’t want people to think we’re cocky. We don’t want people to think our egos are bigger than the planet. So we refrain from voicing our goals and our dreams. We tuck them in and just strive for them on our own, quietly.
I’m not sure this is the best way to go about things. First of all, if you achieve your dreams or your goals and you start doing a victory dance, it will seem sort of out of place. No one will understand how long you fought for those accomplishments or how much you wanted to get to where you are. That’s a shame because nothing is more fun than doing a victory dance as a group. But even more than that, I think we keep a distance between ourselves and our dreams by not giving them a voice. They’re sort of minimized little secrets until we give voice to them. It’s like we’re ashamed of them or ashamed of ourselves for wanting something, for fighting for something.
Roger Federer voiced his wish for winning his 7th (record-breaking) Wimbledon title. And when he did it, when he accomplished that, people said, “Woah, he said he was going to and he did.” It seems like we could learn from his example. Why be ashamed of your wishes? Why refrain from voicing your dreams just because there’s a chance you might fail, at least at first? Seize your dreams. Give them a voice.
Image Credit: http://www.flickr.com/photos/sacharules/3230403747/ via Creative Commons