Bruce my friend called me last week to play some tennis. Bruce is better than me.
I've been playing with another friend of mine this year and having some pretty decent success. In fact, haven't lost a match all year and was feeling pretty optimistic.
As I took the court and started hitting I could tell instantly that it was going to be a rough morning. My shots were all over the place as I tried to compete with Bruce at his level. I overhit, went for too much and generally played horrible.
At first I was angry. Then I was frustrated. I thought to myself, how can I be playing this poorly when all year long, I've played pretty much lights out tennis. What was wrong?
Absolutely nothing. In fact my brain woke up and told me just that!
You see, I started this whole post by saying that Bruce is better than me. He has a much higher level game than I do. He has probably never stopped playing since high school and I took about a 12 year break and only picked up my racket a few years ago. My backhand isn't what it used to be. My forehand isn't nearly as powerful as it once was. My serve is much harder (thank you P90X) but other than that, I am no where close to being what I was.
And that's okay.
That's why I play, to get better. To learn how to play tennis at THIS age and at THIS level.
Why do I play with people like Bruce who clearly outclass me on the court? Because in order to get better we have to challenge ourselves. That often means trying something that you aren't comfortable with and seeing how you do. Sure it's painful. Sure it may cause you some frustration but you learn from these experiences and get better. Though at the time it may not seem like it.
Bruce is better than me at tennis. That may be the case forever or it may not be. One thing is for sure, if I don't get out there and challenge myself and try I'll never know.
Yes Bruce, I'm gunning for ya!
What should you be challenging yourself with?