How An Irrational World Holds You Back From Excellence


A friend told me his personal story:

He is a good badminton player. So he also spends some time playing with his son in their housing society, in the evening.  

He teaches his son the virtue of patience and right technique, in order to serve well. He guides his son when he is being sloppy and lazy and hasty in serving. My friend thought he was doing the right thing, and he was also happy seeing his son develop the right attitude and skills to serve properly. 

But then he saw his son getting frustrated. He wondered why… 

Then he spotted an interesting thing one day. His son was playing with his friends. As most kids of 6-9 years do, they were playing in their housing society, without a net and without points. So, whichever kid finds the shuttle dropped near him, picks it up and start serving it to the other kid.


Now as coached by my friend, his son was serving properly. But the opponent kid was not…

This was resulting in a situation where my friend’s son’s serve was being returned well by the opponent kid, while the opponent kid’s erratic serve kept on troubling my my friend’s son. The serve would land quite away from a ‘reasonable’ playing area, and hence my friend’s son had to keep on picking the shuttle almost always. He would then again serve it properly, and the other kid would hit it hard. 

So, the whole experience was very frustrating for my friend’s son! 

In such a situation, any common person would respond by asking his son to also serve erratically. Now, if they go down that path, that path is not likely to lead to excellence.

Think about it…

One solution: My friend needs to either coach the opponent kid, or ask his son to stop playing with him!

Key Insight

If we get into the game of responding irrationality with irrationality, we lose the chance of becoming excellent…