Tip of the week: the choice between comfort and growth

Whenever I play doubles, I ask my opponent which side they prefer and when they tell me their preference, I often surprise them by saying ok then, why don’t you play the other side.

These comments are almost always greeted by some sense of disbelief, but it makes perfect sense to me.

If you play well from one side and feel uncomfortable on the other, does it not make sense to play one’s weaker side and try and improve it, especially in practice?

This is a dilemma that we are faced with almost every day of our lives in almost every aspect of our lives. In the choice between comfort and growth; it is very tempting to choose comfort, which begs the question, do we really want growth?

The reality is that when we choose comfort, we are saying no to growth, whether we realize it or not.

In a friendly conversation, if you asked people if they choose growth or comfort, I think the vast majority would say growth. It seems like the ‘right’ thing to say.

However, if we are committed to more than just the ideal of growth, then we need to seek out discomfort.

Question: who in their ‘right’ mind would seek out discomfort?

Answer: anyone interested in growth.

In tennis I see this all the time. In a clinic or lesson, individuals will run around their weak shot in order to hit their strong shot. Why is that? Surely a lesson would be the perfect time to move into discomfort, but this just does not seem the approach of most people.

Too many young players, especially today, when faced with adversity or a breakdown of a particular shot will use anger and frustration as a way of avoiding oneself and the ‘problem’.

Instead of trying to explore the situation and see what is happening, the immediate response is to extricate oneself from the situation as quickly as possible. Giving up seems an easier option than fighting or just being in that space and seeing what happens.

So, what does your behavior reveal to you, do you choose growth or comfort?