How Do People Live Like That?

How Do People Live Like That?

Mar. 29, 2019

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I’ve seen “supposed to” ruin lives.

Students have come to me with broken down strokes that seemed hopeless. And every time, there’s some weird glitch in the stroke that’s causing the distress.

When I ask them why they do this strange contortion, they say, “That’s what I’m supposed to do.”

Really? Who said so?

And why isn’t that person in prison?

By focusing on what they’re supposed to do and not what actually works best for them, they got caught in an uncomfortable maelstrom of failure–never to escape.

But when they stopped doing what they were supposed to do and started doing something comfortable and sensible, the broken stroke became magically fixed for life.

Once the imaginary, mandatory requirements were removed, all that was left was happiness.

And not just on the court.

I’ve seen many people pick colleges or doubles partners or fiances based on what they thought they were supposed to do.

I’m supposed to go to this good school (even though I hate it). 

I’m supposed serve-and-volley every time (even though my groundstrokes are better).

I’m supposed to get married (even though I’m not close to being ready). 

There is no such thing, no such rules.

Living in “supposed to” is a gilded cage at best and a tragedy at worst.

And as soon as we commit to that idea, our lives get so much better.

Here’s a story Jerry Seinfeld once told to another young comedian:

“This is my favorite story about show business. Glenn Miller’s orchestra, they were doing some gig somewhere; they can’t land where they’re supposed to land because it’s winter, a snowy night.

So they have to land in this field, and walk to the gig. And they’re dressed in their suits, they’re ready to play, they’re carrying their instruments. So they’re walking through the snow and it’s wet and slushy and in the distance they see this little house, and there’s lights on in the inside, and there’s a ball of smoke coming out of the chimney. And they go up to the house and they look in the window and they see this family.

There’s a guy and his wife, and she’s beautiful, and there’s two kids and they’re all sitting around the table, and they’re smiling and laughing and they’re eating. There’s a fire in the fireplace. These guys are standing there in their suits and they’re wet and shivering and holding their instruments, and they’re watching this incredible Norman Rockwell scene.

One guy turns to the other guy and goes, ‘How do people live like that?’”

The only thing we’re supposed to do is what we like.


My book is called The Inevitability of Becoming Rich, and you can find that here.