"He is not afraid to lose." was a deeply felt epiphany happened several days ago while watching a tennis tournament. A stranger sat next to me watching intently, and taking notes. He was a tennis pro and his daughter was playing at the second court from where we were sitting.
Before we started conversation, I noticed her because she was a smart player with a variety of shots in her command and mixed her shots. He and I talked about some of the top players, past and current, among other topics in tennis. While giving his take on why the current top player is dominating now, he emphasized the quality and ability of not being afraid to lose. As a player myself, I knew it was coming from his heart and it, also, hit me as an epiphany. There was a certain connection without so much words. I wished him and his daughter a good luck and as he was turning to leave, his last words were "I enjoyed the conversation."
Don't be afraid to lose! It is a cliche yelled loudly and listened to with a lot of emotion, practically, all over the world, all the time. I have been telling and screaming at myself for the last forty years, the exact same thing. A few days ago, I mentioned the conversation to two of my tennis partners,and they, of course, knew what it meant. The only thing is they also knew it took a lot of effort to improve with the long hours of practice, patience and believing, that state of mind and confidence would come, someday. In other words, not being afraid to lose in much easier said than done.
I feel, somewhat, corny using the word, epiphany. First of all, it was not an epiphany epiphany, meaning not a sudden epiphany. It was in long time coming. After many years of practice, continually coming up with new ways to get better, my tennis was getting better slowly, yeah, very very very slowly. Now, in good days, I can totally concentrate on the ball and not on the body or mechanics. It is not really not being afraid to lose, it is freedom from being afraid.
I decided to write about the topic because it is not about sports,only. Freedom from being afraid is a wonderful feeling, unfortunately, the catch is you have to earn it. That night it hit me with some force not just because of tennis but many other important elements of my life which, like the tennis, were reaching a certain plateau. I'm a believer in the old, tired saying that man has to take some secrets to the grave. I ain't going into any deeper into this. At least, at this time.
Freedom from being afraid is what I have been looking for all my life, most of the time without my being aware of it. I remember feeling suffocating in Korea as a teenager, probably, I'm confusing different issues and emotions from the topic on hand. But I do know this freedom from being afraid has a cultural, historical, political, and philosophical components in addition to the personal one. There are many different degrees of this freedom, and it is always work in progress.
Freedom from being afraid, I strongly recommend to everybody, even though, I'm not there yet. Most likely, I'll never get there, but, still, I recommend that to myself very very strongly.