...is that theoretical convincingness doesn't mean it actually works.
I was reading The Inner Game of Tennis by Timothy Gallwey. It's a classic for good reason. There's many brilliant ideas and insights in the book, directly applicable to living a better life.
And he speaks from a place of totality about how relaxation and nonjudgmental behavior towards yourself produces better outcomes.
It's thoroughly convincing. But then I realized, wait, that's not necessarily empirically true.
Specifically, another book on tennis came to mind -- Open: An Autobiography, by former world #1 Andre Agassi.
Agassi's training methods under his father and under his own judgment were the polar opposite of Gallwey's recommendations. Now, Gallwey is smart. The Inner Game is a classic for a reason. And it probably leads to happiness. The trouble is, his arguments will have you nodding in near universal agreement, despite having many potential exceptions and caveats. Convincing arguments can be troubling like that.
One idea is to take pretty much every assertion you read and think to yourself "now what if the opposite were true?" I think I've trained my brain to have a background process that does something like that, though it didn't flag the "totally nonjudgemental" assertion, so maybe it's not that good.
From Sebastian: I was really honored and thrilled when Jason Shen offered to write a guest post here at SebastianMarshall.com - he's an incredibly bright guy with broad knowledge and skillset, writes well and clearly, and is an all-around good guy. So I'm really excited to be able to bring you a guest post by him - I imagine you'll want to read more by him afterwards, and you can reach him at his website - www.jasonshen.com.
Here's Jason -
I read Sebastian's blog because I'm interested in winning and he writes honest, insightful and sometimes provocative stuff about victory. Recently, I've been thinking about ways to win that are less commonly employed - one, because it's interesting and two, because I think there is a lot we can learn from unorthodox methods that work.
That's what this blog post is about: strategies that are nontraditional, that are beyond "do your best and learn from your mistakes" type advice, yet are undeniably ways that help you win.You might find them strange, but that's ok because winning isn't normal.
Some people find the pursuit of winning distasteful or even silly. Others get juiced by the idea of winning, of kicking ass and taking names, of being the best. I have a feeling that many of you SebatianMarshall.com readers fall into the second category. This post is for you.
Simon Ramo, a scientist and statistician, wrote a fascinating little book that few people have bothered to read: Extraordinary Tennis Ordinary Players. The book isn’t fascinating because I love tennis. I don’t. In the book Ramo identifies the crucial difference between a Winner’s Game and a Loser’s Game. Ramo believed that tennis could be subdivided into two games: the professionals and the rest of us. Players in both games play by the same rules and scoring. They play on the same court. Sometimes they share the same equipment. In short the basic elements of the game are the same. Sometimes amateurs believe they are professionals but professionals never believe they are amateurs. But the games are fundamentally different, which is Ramo’s key insight. Professionals win points whereas amateurs lose them. Think about professional games. Each player, nearly equal in skill, plays a nearly perfect game rallying back and forth until one player hits the ball just beyond the reach of his opponent. This is about positioning, control, spin. It’s a game of inches and sometimes centimeters. In his 1975 essay, The Loser’s Game, Charles Ellis calls professional tennis a “Winner’s Game.” While there is some degree of skill and luck involved, the game is generally determined by the actions of the winner. READ THE FULL ARTICLE HERE