Catching Thoughts on the Rise
Andre Agassi had one of the best returns of serve in tennis.
It's a hard shot to hit well. The serve comes at 100, 110 miles per hour, loaded with spin and velocity. It would be an easy shot to just react to.
But what made Agassi so good was that he caught the ball on the rise. In other words, he hit the ball before it reached the apex of its bounce.
It gave his opponent less time to respond. It could also take the ball's incoming speed and redirect it into outgoing speed off Agassi's racket.
So Agassi interrupted the force of a huge, surging serve and brought the power back onto his side of the court.
And I think it's a brilliant way to think about those huge, surging thoughts that can come at us: fear, doubt, worry, judgment.
If we can catch them on the rise - ahead of them reaching their full apex and momentum - we can redirect them before they become so big, so real-seeming that we can only react to them.
When I get even a slight sense of those thoughts rising up, I'll name them: "Hello, fear. I see you. You aren't me." And then I'll return to the work at hand. Often, I have to do it again and again.
It's not an effortless practice. I suspect Agassi worked and worked at the return of serve. Many good things take much good effort.
But if I catch those thoughts on the rise, it can be an effective way to bring power back to my side of the court.