Earlier this month, I commented on the fine line between ambition and greed, noting that this distinction is not necessarily restricted to the world of financial gain. Sports in one such arena (no pun intended) where the lines can get quite blurred, but with the Australian Open wrapping up this past weekend, we saw at least two players who were heavily driven by ambition and not by greed. As a result, both men were able to accomplish more than they ever thought possible.
One of the slogans for Adidas is “Impossible is Nothing”, so it’s only fitting that both of these competitors were attired in Adidas gear as they faced off in the men’s singles final. If you look at the path taken by Novak Djokovic (pictured) of Serbia and Jo-Wilfried Tsonga of France, you’ll see that no one would have possibly expected them to be participating in the final against one another. The odds were heavily stacked against them and yet they prevailed. Comparing themselves to others only motivated them further. They believed in themselves.
Novak Djokovic managed to eliminate the seemingly invincible Roger Federer in straight sets. Although Djokovic was the third seed in the tournament, most analysts predicted that Federer would stomp all over the 20-year-old, just as he had done with everyone before him. In fact, prior to Federer’s loss to Djokovic in the 2008 Australian Open semi-finals, Roger Federer had appeared in 13 straight Grand Slam Finals. That’s a streak that spans over three years, a feat unheard of in tennis. Federer looked unbeatable, but Djokovic saw right past this impossibility. Even if his extended ball-bouncing sessions get a little annoying.
Perhaps the bigger story was that of unseeded Jo-Wilfried Tsonga. Over the course of the tournament, he managed to dispatch four players in the top 15, including the 2nd seeded Rafael Nadal in straight sets (semi-finals). Again, everyone fully expected Nadal to stomp all over Tsonga, but the Frenchman would have nothing of it. Beating Nadal may have seemed impossible, but so did beating three of the other players in the top 15. The player he couldn’t beat was Djokovic, despite pushing the latter to his limit. Tsonga even had the crowd behind him during the final.
I know that I can come off sounding pretty pessimistic sometimes, but that’s because I tend to ground myself in reality as much as possible. That said, in order to achieve astronomical success, you have to set the bar high and refuse to give in to the odds, refuse to acknowledge the near-impossible path before you. Look at what Djokovic and Tsonga managed to achieve. They have a lot to be proud of.
Life can seem pretty tough and that’s partially why goals are the bane of my existence, but without these goals and aspirations, all of us would be stuck in stagnation and mediocrity. I don’t know about you, but I don’t strive to be average; I strive to be the absolute best in everything that I do and it is exactly because of this competitive spirit that people like Bill Gates, Tiger Woods, and Shigeru Miyamoto have achieved the level of success that they all enjoy.
Nothing is impossible. You just need the drive, determination… and a little luck on your side.