Live life at your own pace

This is a lesson I took a long time to learn in life. Live life at your own pace and do what works for you. What does it even mean to live life at your own pace? Here is an example. When the world says you should be speeding at 100 kilometres per hour, you can decide that it actually suits you better to go at a walking pace. When the world says it is time to stop or to quit, because you know better, you can decide it is best to keep going instead.

I am a huge fan of tennis and Roger Federer is my favourite tennis player. I have been following the game for a very long time, since the late 1980s. Now Federer has brought home this life lesson about living at your own pace.

I remember at some point in his career Federer had a dip and he went for a very long time without winning a single title. I remember that reading articles about him then, I had come to expect that at some point in the article, mention would be made that it was probably time for him to leave the game. Overnight, people had become experts on his career, even those who have who never picked up a racket or hit a single ball in their lives.

Remarkably in his interviews, Federer never gave in to his doubters. He always insisted that he was still around in the game and over the years he has proven his doubters and critics wrong. He is still playing and still winning. I can bet you that when spoke with confidence about possibly playing into his forties, people must have thought this guy is just delusional. At the time of writing this article, Federer was 2 years from hitting 40 years old. It does not appear crazy anymore that he could still be playing past 40.

At the ripe old age of 38 years in tennis, it is unheard of a tennis player to still be in such fine form in singles play. Yes there is incredible longevity when it comes to doubles but singles is incredibly demanding and much tougher I believe.

Because Federer insisted on doing things his way, he has stayed the course and his self belief and the hard work have paid off. The once constant speculation and second-guessing about when he will retire has died down, basically disappeared because those who used to write so much about it were not doing themselves or their credibility on knowledge about the game any favour at all. The journalists have realised that it is pointless to keep speculating about when someone will leave the game when that person is still very much enjoying the game and has no intention of disappearing any time soon.

Life is like that sometimes. When we doubt ourselves, we give in to what others think are the best decisions for us. We make important decisions in life, not because it suits us because because we lack the courage and conviction to do things at our pace.

So if for a moment you think of life as a highway, sometimes you end up taking a turn when you really meant to go straight. It is not easy to believe in ourselves at times and there is so much that we go through which causes us to doubt ourselves and our ability as well as what we really want in life.

Someone once said that those who mind don’t matter and those who matter don’t mind. This is something to keep in mind when we are being influenced by other people in our big decisions in life. How important are those people in our lives? Are those people just acquaintances or friends, spectators in our journey or these are people who are deeply involved? Ask yourself these questions before you attach too much importance to the opinions of others in your life.

Why would a professional, someone who is deeply committed to their craft and someone who has been at it for a very long time, listen to a mere spectator who does not have any skin in the game and who really has no idea what it is to walk in someone else’s shoes? Why?

But someone might ask, how do you live life at your own pace when there is so much pressure to conform or do things just so that you can fit in with the crowd? It is so much easier to just tick the box of expectation and fit in.

You have to focus on you and think much less about the world outside. If Lionel Messi or Ronaldo is going to make a shot or pass, he does not consider what a spectator might advise. No, he relies purely on his own skill, experience and instinct and acts within seconds. What matters is being in the moment, reading the situation and doing what is appropriate at that time.

No one else is more experienced about your life except you, so why would you worry about people who have no idea what is really going on in your head or in your space. That makes no sense to me. These people are not qualified to make calls in your life.

I hope that you will find the courage to live an authentic life and do so without stopping to explain to anyone why you are doing what you are doing. You owe absolutely no one any explanation for being you.

If you are not being authentic and want to give it a go, it means you have to know yourself better. You have to understand what it is that you really desire, want and need in whatever you are doing. Sometimes we confuse what we need with what we want. To me a want is not necessarily the best thing for us. However, a need will speak to our situation and position in life.

Be prepared for the consequences of living life at your own pace and doing what works for you. You might find that some people around you will get confused as you deviate from norms and expectations while forging ahead with greater clarity and purpose.

I hope you find the strength and courage to do what you have to do and the wisdom to know when it is the right time. It is not going to be east at all but I can tell you that it is going to be worth it. All the best.

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