Roger Federer won the Australian Open over the weekend, his 16th Grand Slam event, putting him now two ahead of Pete Sampras for the most career major titles by a mens tennis player.
What may be even more impressive than Federer’s number of victories is his streak of reaching at least the semifinals or better in majors…22. That adds up to be over 5 years where no one could beat him until the final 4 of the tournament. That kind of consistency is unheard of…even great players like Sampras and Borg never achieved anything close to that.
The old heads will tell you that Rod Laver was better than Fed, but there is no denying his greatness. I feel so fortunate that I have been able to watch his career unfold.
Some may tell you it’s his world class forehand that makes him so good, or maybe his ability to ever-so effortlessly glide around the court, but I think there is no doubt that his success is in large part thanks to what sits between his ears.
Federer has been mentally stronger than any other player in tennis the last half dozen or so years. There is just no other way to explain his success.
Earlier in his career, Fed may have been more physically gifted than some of his peers, but that is no longer the case. Federer is getting older while his opponents are getting younger. They can hit harder, run faster, and play longer than him…in terms of raw ability, they can do pretty much everything better than him on the court.
However, these players lack one aspect to their game that Federer dominates…and that is the mental aspect of tennis. His ability to focus on the court has allowed him to overcome anything his opponents may have on him physically.
Anyone that has played tennis knows how difficult it is to maintain your composure on the court…you can hit 10 great shots in a row, miss an easy one, and totally lose focus because of that one bad miss-hit. You need to have the ability to treat each point almost as a new match…you can’t worry about what happened 30 seconds ago.
You will seldom see Federer get rattled…I could probably count the number of times I’ve seen him get flustered over the years on only one hand. Nothing seems to bother him when he’s on the court, yet other players will noticeable become frustrated or lose focus in the key moments of a match.
Federer also has the ability to rise to the occasion during big points, whereas other good players are not able to (at least as consistently). I can’t even imagine what it’s like playing in front of a packed stadium like they do, but I am sure every action within the match is magnified when thousands of people are oooing and ahhing. It must be tough!
How has Federer raised himself to this level of mental prowess? I wish I could answer that myself. His opponents are the best in the world, and I am sure are nearly as mentally tough as him, but for whatever reason, they have not quite matched his ability.
I do know that he puts a lot of work in off the court, conditioning himself for long matches (even though he often wins in straight sets). I suppose that he comes into every match knowing that he is in the best shape he could possibly be in, but I am sure nearly all of his opponents could say they are just as prepared.
It would be interesting to know what Federer is thinking while he plays and how he fortifies his mental game…maybe he’ll write a book and explain how he does it. Until then, all we can know for certain is that he is a prime case and point for mind over matter.
Wednesday 8:14 PM
Dog Barking Oustide (as it does every night)
I have become fascinated with the success of McDonald’s since reading about their “turn key” operation as detailed by Michael Gerber in “The E-Myth Revisited.”
If you haven’t read the book, Gerber basically talks about how you want to strive to make your business run like a well oiled machine, similar to what McDonald’s has achieved. Your business should not depend on your every action in order to succeed.
It is pretty remarkable if you think of the case of McDonald’s…you are going to get the same burger and fries no matter which McDonald’s you go to in the country. You can expect the same “quality” of food in Hicksville as you would find in Hollywood.
The secret to this consistency is in their system…I am sure there have been many to take the majestic leap over the fences at the US border straight into the kitchen of a McDonald’s.
It shows that anyone can be shaped into a piece of the McDonald’s jig-saw puzzle.
But that is not the point of this post…I want to talk about something else that makes them so prominent, and that is the colors of their logo.
I am not sure if Ray Kroc is the man behind it, but whoever came up with the logo for McDonald’s is a genius. It’s not even necessarily the shape of the golden arches which draws our eye towards it, but the combination of red and yellow.
They are two of the loudest colors out there, as they rarely occur in nature. Psychologically, we can’t help but notice the colors like red, orange, and yellow more than we notice colors like blue, green, and brown. It’s human nature.
Yellow, orange, and red signal danger or caution in most cases, as evidenced by street signs, but they also seem to serve as an indicator of food quite often nowadays.
Next time you go for a drive (or walk), take notice of how many restaurants use the color red and yellow in their logos. Almost every single one of them will use one or the other.
They know that when you are cruising around and your stomach starts grumbling, your first instinct will be to eye up the passing signs, looking for sources of nourishment. Restaurants probably rely more upon impulse decisions than any other business, so it’s of utmost importance that are easily seen.
You may not realize it, but when you see the red and yellow together, that triggers the notion of McDonald’s in your brain before you actually perceive the shape of the arch and read the letters on the sign. You have been conditioned to associate the combination of those pronounced colors with the restaurant.
I am not sure if McDonald’s was the first to use red and yellow, but they have really set them apart as the only big fast food chain that uses solely those two colors on their signs. They may have trademark rights on the use of those two colors in the way they use them.
Anyway, the point is that the McDonald’s sign protrudes from the landscape… you can’t help but notice it. It serves almost as Batman’s bat signal, herding in the hungry of America. This I believe is one of the unheralded keys to their success.
The psychology of colors is an interesting topic…maybe I’ll delve into that later on. For now, just remember that getting noticed, even subconsciously, is important for a business.
Take it easy,
I’m going to be straight up here and make a startling confession: I am not a social media expert. I know, I know, all credibility of this post is swirling down the drain. You might as well hit the back button on your browser while you still can.
(I probably should have started off saying that I have something like 154,927 followers that keep messaging me about their free webcams…now THAT would certainly have qualified me a Twitter authority.)
For anyone that is still reading, I am going to talk about one of the topics I’ve noticed on Twitter and Facebook that seem to spark by far more conversation than than any others. That topic is food.
Even my wittiest tweets are no match for a simple update notifying my friends and followers that I am eating a boring bowl of lentil soup for lunch that day. People seem to love weighing in on their opinions about food.
Food is a common ground for all people. No matter what background you come from, what interests you have, or what beliefs you stand for, you eat food.
This makes it the perfect subject to tweet about, as all of your friends can easily join the discussion. They don’t need to be in the loop per say, to be an aficionado about their tastes in food. You involve everyone in the conversation by bringing food to the table.
What other topics are good to tweet about? I think it’s as simple as looking at Maslow’s hierarchy of needs. The topics toward the base are things that just might make for decent conversation.
Of course I would not recommend updating everyone that you are on the toilet or undergoing homeostasis, but anyone is going to be able to relate if you bring up conversation about sleep or health.
The most basic aspects of your life are the areas that a majority of people are going to be the most interested in, as we all have an urgent need to fulfill these basic areas. So next time you tweet, remember to keep it simple and think of Maslow.