Bjorn Borg, master of the wooden tennis racket 🙂
In the early 1970s, men’s tennis was dominated by Americans.
In your wildest imagination you would not believe that a Swede would change all that.
The name of this Swede was Bjorn Borg.
In less than 10 years, Borg made an entire country ‘talented.’
Some of the most impressive tennis players like Mats Wilander, Stefan Edberg and dozens of other players sprouted from the Swedish woodwork.
About the same time, a woman called Martina Navratilova surfaced from Czechoslavakia. She too, started winning everything in sight.
And then, magically, the Czechs became talented.
The very same phenomenon surfaced in India
Before the year 1985, the Indian cricket team was considered to be a second-class cricket team.
Then from nowhere, they rose to win the World Cup against all odds. And from then on, you’d be slightly mad if you had a one-day tournament, and didn’t have the Indian team as an active participant.
What causes an entire country to suddenly be talented in a sport?
Surely it can’t be inspiration. If it were inspiration, then any one from any country could simply be inspired to do the same.
You see there’s quite another factor at work.
It’s called pride.
Or a lack of wimpiness
Because so-called talent requires hard work. There’s not a single ‘talented’ musician who doesn’t put in many, many hours of hard work. There’s not a single speaker, dancer, writer, athlete, teacher who simply ambles in, and oozes talent.
Talent is the culmination of so many factors, that it almost seems magical.
And that’s because we see the expression of talent in a matter of minutes. We see a person draw a cartoon in a few seconds; write an article in an hour; play a difficult piece of music in a matter of minutes. And they seem to be so talented.
Yet the reason we aren’t talented, is because we’re wimpy.
Most people give themselves the permission to be untalented.
And we don’t have to look to the Bjorn Borgs or Martina Navratilovas to find so-called talent.
If you look around you, you’ll find some families seem to be overly talented.
They seem to be involved in the arts, writing, music and somehow seem to be so very creative.
But stop and think about it for a second.
What stops your kids from being as talented?
What stops you from being more talented?
It’s the stupid, nonsensical belief that people were born with talent.
That one country is more talented than another.
That one family is more talented than yours.
Don’t tell that to the Swedes
Here’s what Bjorkman, himself a world No.4 has to say: “We were so good that we spoiled everyone at home. There was no way we could keep winning Davis Cups, have No. 1s and Grand Slam singles champions.
We played the Davis Cup semifinals last year and were not even nominated for the top five teams in Sweden. I think people do forget some of the achievements we still create in tennis because they compare everything to the past.”
And here’s what Bjorn Borg himself has to say:
“We are struggling with the junior tennis in Sweden, but we’re working very hard to improve that. They’re also struggling in Australia”.
“But I think this goes in a circle. Sweden produced players for many, many, many years, unbelievable players. It’s impossible to continue to
do that forever”.
“But I’m sure Swedish tennis and Swedish juniors, we will be back. But it’s going to take quite a few years.”
Can you spot the wimpy-talk in the language?
Talent doesn’t arise from wimpy talk.
It arises from action. And patterns. And layering. And emotions.
“I think” is not a powerful emotion. It’s a doubt.
I think is wimpy.
Recognise that in your own life. Cut out the wimpy talk and get moving towards creating real talent.
Because talent starts with emotion. If you don’t believe you can do it, you never will.