I have never seen a top achiever without some kind of obsession, do you have a table tennis obsession? and what are the effects?
I think most have some kind of addiction whether it be social media, eating, smoking, running, these things in our lives give us the high’s we crave. Many perceive addictions as negative connotations and in many respects that’s correct. Addiction can cause many issues; physically, mentally and further afield (personal environment and even external-surrounding environment). Furthermore, an addiction is something that you crave and often do without thinking consciously.
Like an addiction, it can have many negatives and cause problems in many respects but obsession is often an element that is required for true success. Unlike an addiction, someone who is obsessed often thinks about what he/she are doing and why they are doing it (for an ultimate outcome). It does not feel like a need but instead, it feels like a must. The negatives of an obsession it can cause issues physically, mentally and socially. If an obsession is structured correctly it can have mainly positive outcomes.
My Table Tennis Obsession
Life shouldn’t just happen, I believe you should make your life I look around and so many people choose to follow what they think is right or what others are doing. I ran a table tennis session last night at one of England’s leading clubs. One of the students asked me can we do our own warm-ups? my inner thoughts YES I love that, yet out of 12 students, only 3 did their own warm-up where the other 9 followed one of the students. of course, I had to give a little speech and explain that we are all individuals and each one must find their own pathway.
I found table tennis at 14 and that becomes my pathway, I became obsessed with the sport which meant friends came second, social life came second, in fact, any event would come second to table tennis. I would want to play every day, I wanted to develop and grow, I wanted to study the sport and watch as much as possible. All this hunger and craving for more became my obsession towards being the best table tennis player.
some may relate to this, I remember going to tournaments before the doors would open (I wanted to be the first in the hall). This would strike fear into my opponents when seeing me the only person in the hall practising his service. I would practice more than anyone there were days where I would enter the hall midday (light outside) and leave the hall in the morning (light outside) Yes, I would play through the night. I would always ask players to knock with me regardless of age or ability and time was unimportant, I just wanted to play.
Is obsession enough?
In short no, you need many elements to become great or the best? but obsession can enable you towards your desired goals. It can drive you towards doing things you wouldn’t want to do but know are essential for success. Obsession has the power to make your own world and forget all the outside noise. Today I am a full-time coach possibly more obsessed today compared to when I was a player. I wake up thinking about the sport, I work in the sport, I go to sleep thinking about the sport and I’m pretty sure I dream about table tennis. Is this an obsession 100% yes! is it healthy? debatable!
Being obsessed allows me to become great/special in my field, I am able to constantly grow and deliver more for myself, students and the sport. The issue naturally becomes where do I draw the line and enjoy other elements of life?
- Family: I am not perfect but when I am with my family and kids I do my utmost to focus on them. This means phone on silent, enjoy a hug and a play and forget the past, or future.
- Friends: schedule a time in the diary where I don’t have events or coaching and meet up. No, table tennis talk
- Unique experience: I try to do something different once a month – go-karting, swimming, visit a location unseen before, a new restaurant, take my wife out, cinema etc.
- Love: show those around me my appreciation, a little gesture of goodwill; a gift, a letter, a phone call, a text, or a simple beautiful word
No one is perfect:
By sharing our thoughts and experiences we enable ourselves to grow and learn and enable others to do so alongside ourselves. Having an obsession, in my opinion, is the no.1 key element required for true success inside your industry. But remember life is given to us, as a gift so do your best to fulfil your time on this planet which means a little variety, not just one thing.
If you’re doing something you love and the positives out way the negatives then just keep doing it.