A key key to success: Being present

This morning (in South East Asian time), another tennis player yet again beat the odds, pulling off a victory that was not supposed to happen. Maria Sharapova, in spite of her momentous first-round triumph over dogged veteran Simona Halep and whatever that victory is supposed to portend for her prospects in the tournament, crashed out to a certain Anastasija Sevastova. Despite having never broken through beyond the quarterfinals of a grand slam, and losing a tough first set to the former US Open champion, the Latvian chose to fight on.

She played unbelievably throughout the first and second set and I just kept fighting, running after every ball, and just stayed there- Anastasija Sevastova

The accent we are drawing you to is not grit very evidently expressed, but the state of being very present (implied not too directly) which makes such grit effective. It is not enough to be in a state of wanting to strive with all you have, but to do so in a way in which you are resigned to the whatever possible outcome that may follow, to act only on the things that you can control. 'I just kept fighting, running after every ball' - Sevastova does not think too much about her situation, she only puts effort into working to her goal. There is no pressure to perform, she owes success to no one (not even herself). Her task is simplified to one single aim: to keep going regardless of the circumstances. Because she owes nothing to anybody, she is able to focus and be absorbed in the presence. As such there is no anxiety that a more 'result-oriented' competitor would face. Sevastova does want to win the match, she does have results to work for, otherwise she would not have made it this far in tennis. But she knows that to get those results you cannot think about them in the process of attaining them. You play best when you have nothing to lose.

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