01 Jan 2018

A few days ago, I was reading this article about Andy Murray. In the article, the great Wilander talks about how Murray never plays a good or a bad game; he always plays a right or a wrong game. That is to say, Murray is so technically sound that he never plays bad shots. But it is his game plan that determines the outcome of his matches. This analysis makes a lot of sense. In my experience as a tennis viewer, I have never seen Andy Murray play bad. He is amazingly consistent. But it was the phrase that Wilander used that caught my attention. It can provide a valuable primer for analyzing our course of action in life, whether professional or personal. e.g., one could be trying a complicated experiment without results. The lack of result could be due to a variety of reasons :

  • Careless handling of samples (the bad way).
  • Logical inconsistency in the design of the experiment (the wrong way).

Another example, one could be trying a career path without much success. The lack of success could be due to a variety of reasons

  • Choice of career path not in tune with your skills (the wrong way).
  • Not paying attention to the critical components of the profession (the bad way).

There are four possibilities of doing anything:

  1. A good thing in the right way.
  2. A good thing in the wrong way.
  3. The bad thing in the right way.
  4. The bad thing in the wrong way.

Of course, #1 is the most ideal. But I think it is #3 that can be the most dangerous. Because bad (or not so useful ) things done in the right way will produce favorable early results and create an illusion of success. This illusion can mask you from pursuing important and useful things. On the other hand, #4 is likely to be so unpleasant that you would quickly make changes and improve your techniques and plans.