I’ve always resented challenging weather conditions. The wind disrupts my rhythm, the sun messes with my serve, the high sky downgrades my overhead to a sometimes thing. I prefer to play indoors. It makes the game simpler and more straightforward — the elements don’t mess with my timing.
Recently it dawned on me that it doesn’t have to be this way. When I was in my 20s, I took a weeklong solo bike trip through New England. The weather was brutal. Sometimes it was punishingly hot, other times it poured rain. About four days in, I resolved to stop whining and instead to invoke the mantra, “It’s only weather.”
Yet here it is many decades later, and I am resenting the weather. And so I need to remind myself: There’s a boundary between the realities life hands us and the emotions we experience about that reality. One is outside our control, the other is inside it.
For years, I assumed that sun and wind were BAD when I played tennis outside. It was my attitude that was BAD, and not in a good way. I was blaming the outside weather for my inside attitude, and that was getting in my way as a tennis player.
Logic and common sense argue for a positive approach toward playing outdoors whatever the weather conditions. Why rain on your own parade? Why not build outdoor-weather challenges into the vast and complex art of becoming a better tennis player? At the end of the day, making friends with the weather is just another opportunity to get better at pursuing excellence.
First, though, we have to remember that boundary, the one that separates our external circumstances from our attitude toward it.What’s your attitude toward playing in the sun and wind? More broadly, what negative qualities do you project onto the outside world instead of keeping them where they belong, which is inside your head?