The toughest thing to do

The best session at Nasscom leadership Forum was the talk by Viswanathan Anand. I listened to him from the edge of my seat and tweeted a few bits when I was sure that I wasn’t missing anything. One thing that he said made a lot of sense from my own experience but also reminded me of something Sachin Tendulkar also said:

The toughest thing is to clear your mind. The mind always wants to be in the past or the future; it rarely wants to be in the present. My best batting comes when my mind is in the present, but it doesn’t happen naturally. You have to take yourself there.

Remove a word here and there and add a few here and there; and that is exactly what Anand said too! Cricket and Chess are very different games – split seconds to play a ball vs usually a few minutes to consider your move. And yet, in both games, it comes down to just one thing – being in present.

Anand also called it the toughest thing to do. He said that he won the World Championship Match against Topalov because he held on to his nerves and did not think of past and took care to not think of a future where he had won. It was always about the next move and the game at hand. If he had let his mind wander to either the past or the future, then he would have made mistakes.

I mentioned this to someone over dinner last night and pat came the reply – hey, that’s exactly what Gopichand told us when we had invited him to speak at our company! As I was searching the net for the Tendulkar interview, I came across yet another piece – this time by Akash Chopra which again says the same things though in so much detail.

Bottom line – Be in present. That is one key takeaway for all of us from our sports heroes. Its the toughest thing to do but probably the most worthwhile thing to do as well.