I watched a documentary on the matches between Bjorn Borg and John McEnroe on HBO entitled McEnroe/Borg: Fire & Ice. Being that Wimbledon is ongoing as I type this, I figured a tennis post made sense.
Bjorn Borg Holds 11 Grand Slam Titles
Bjorn Borg won 5 straight Wimbledon titles between the years 1976-1980. His most famous match came in 1980 when he faced John McEnroe, the up and coming American. This match is often cited as the best Wimbledon final ever played. The 4th set – McEnroe averted disaster and went on to level the match in Wimbledon’s most memorable 34-point tiebreaker, which he won 18–16. Born went on the dominate the 5th set for his 5th straight Wimbledon title.
The next major tournament was the US Open which Borg lost to McEnroe on the faster surface. The following year, McEnroe beat him in the finals in Wimbledon and in the US Open and that was that, Borg retired from tennis at the age of 26.
If You Aren’t #1…
Borg retired because he achieved what he set out to achieve and that was to be the best player in the world. Once McEnroe defeated him consecutively in a few tournaments, he decided that he no longer wanted to live the celebrity tennis life. I find that awesome to go out on top with what had to be a difficult decision.
Most of us accept that we’ll never be #1 in the world at anything and this is a fair assumption. I’ll relate this to my own life because I can’t relate it to anyone else’s. I enjoy bowling and golfing but there is no point for me to think that I can get out of bed every day and practice the sport and have a shot of being the very best. This goes against the idea that “you can do anything you set your mind to.” Which brings me to the idea that your job is what you get out of bed every day to do. This means that Bjorn Borg got out of the bed to be #1 in the world in tennis and I get out of bed every day to sell items that chose me. This is the conundrum.
Most of the time if you do what you really like to do in this world, you’ll be a bum. For me I’d spend my time watching TV, running around scenic parks, golfing, or learning Photoshop. Ultimately, none of these activities pay the bills. It’s not an easy idea to compute because it’s so ingrained in our society that you are supposed to accept doing work that you don’t like doing. Bjorn Borg got it right.