I’m a 3.5 tennis player.
Between someone who’s never played and the professionals you see at Wimbledon, that puts me at just above bad. But in mid-lifer recreational tennis, that rating puts me at okay.
Good starts at 4.0 (four - oh).
So, the rating program goes by half-point increments from 1.0 (just starting to play) to 7.0 (world-class players who don’t really need a rating because they’re incredible). The ratings help people find competitive matches.
If you want to get better, you need to play more tennis and do it with players who are better than you. So in this example, if I want to improve, I need to play more tennis and do it with 4.0s as much as possible. To ask anyone higher than a 4.0 to play with me would be a little rude. (You don’t want to waste someone’s time with a bad match.)
You see the challenge...
If everyone who wants to improve only plays with people who are better than them, no one's helping anyone out by playing with people who are worse than them. And that’s rude too.
So, if you want to be a better tennis player, you need to do three things.
- You need to play more tennis.
- You need to play with people who are better than you.
- You need to be a part of the tennis community and play your part in bringing people along as much as you hope people will reach back and help bring you along.
It’s analogous to life, I think. If we want to grow, we need to connect more with people and when possible, connect with people who are stronger than us in different ways … people who can bring us along.
If we look for what we can learn, it might rub off on us. We might pick up some different perspectives … hear things ... learn from others’ experiences. We might get out of our bubbles and find ourselves having richer experiences that lead to a better level of awareness and more opportunities.
But, we need to be a part of the community too. We need to play our part in bringing others along as much as we hope people will reach back and help us along … at work and in life.
That’s how things get better for us as individuals and also for us as a community.
A more enjoyable day … that’s the goal.
Below: How to connect with your 4.0s and using podcasts as your 4.0s…
Connecting with 4.0s
You likely know who these people are in your world.
They might be your boss or the people in your workplace/ industry who consistently shine … the Smovers … the 212ers. They might be people you admire in other industries or someone you met at an event or dinner party … someone who stood out because of a meaningful conversation … maybe a parent you’ve met who seems to do it all so well.
Ask them if you can treat them to breakfast/ lunch/ dinner/ coffee. Email them or call them.
“Hi, Nancy. I really admire the work you’ve been doing with INSERT ADMIRABLE WORK. Can I treat you to MEAL sometime soon? No real agenda other than I’d love to learn your story and how you do your work so well.”
So many variations of the request are possible. At some point, I’ll try to add some other ideas.
Given our work here, I get these requests every once in a while and when it’s possible, I’m excited to accept. I also try to connect with people in this way once or twice a month. I love it.
Not really comfortable connecting with other people?
You should work on that now. And, the best way to work on that is to get in the game and do what I’m recommending above. Connecting with other people invites so much good into your life.
One other idea…
Listen to podcasts while doing something else (commuting, running, working out, folding laundry, whatever). They’ll open your eyes, entertain, and make you smarter.
They’re a great way to get access to people you may never get to meet … beyond just 4.0s. To sit in on some of these conversations has inspired me in so many different ways … inspired my day, my work, my attitude.
I’ve been trying to figure out how we can do something valuable with this wonderful medium from here.
Some of my favorites over the past few years have been…
I love these. Sometimes the host and journalists have some distracting vocal fry and intonation but I still find the content to be wonderful most of the time. A few of my favorite episodes that aren’t tied to the actual day (many are)…
Here’s the Thing
Alec Baldwin hosts this one. Just like everyone, Alec has people who don’t like him (even though they may not really know him). I’d like it better if he didn’t interrupt people on the podcast but I really enjoy most of the work. With his and his team’s help, I’ve learned so much about so many people. A few favorites…
Stay Tuned with Preet
Former US Attorney, Preet Bharara hosts this podcast. I’ve learned so much about U.S. government and our judicial system with this one. I always look forward to new episodes and almost always listen all the way through. Some homeruns…
Sam Harris is a neuroscientist and writer. He uses some too-big-for-me words sometimes but I’m smarter because of his work. He and his guest are very often 7.0s. Some good starts…
The Tim Ferriss Show
Tim Ferriss is a self-help writer who gets some fantastic guests. So much good here. Some favorites over the years…
One more reminder…
You’re a 4.0 to someone else.
When you get the occasional request to meet/ talk from a 3.5 (or 3.0), you have an obligation to be a part of the community and accept that request occasionally … to Love Your People.
That’s how things get better.
And, you might be surprised every once in a while. Sometimes 4.0s can learn something new from 3.5s.
The artwork at the top of the post is titled “
Cross the Line”
(foot drawing on clay court)