Someone asked the tennis legend Martina Navratilova once how she can continue playing so well at the age of 43. Her reply was precious. She said, “The ball doesn’t know how young or old I am. Besides, for 90% of the match, I do not need to focus.”
This is an amazing response on two counts. One, it is the internal content of the person that really matters. Which is why we see so many billion dollar companies being run by 20- or 30-year olds, and not necessarily by septuagenarians alone. While hierarchy, age and respect are important, when it comes to work and giving one’s best, the opinions of the world around us do not matter much.
Two, in our daily work, it might appear that we are working 12-15 hours a day. But is every minute or every hour really that intense and productive? Likely not. Which is why more and more research and experiments seem to suggest that taking walks and breaks and creative time off is better than just sitting at one’s desk for hours on end.
In certain professions, this is easier. Like for Usain Bolt or Michael Phelps – they need to bring their A-game and focus for the entirety of only 1 or 2 minutes. And that will last them 4 years at the Olympics. No comments on the length of their practise sessions though 😃