The Penrose Steps

Our lives can be compared to a steep flight of stairs, or the Penrose Steps. Like a rough hedge or a rickety staircase, once we reach a plateau of our improvement, most people feel like they want to give up, spiraling into a state of questioning and overthinking. This happens to a lot of us as it also applies to me. Additionally, like how we all have a coping mechanism, I’d consider tennis my gateway to absolutely anything, providing learning experiences such as self reflect, confidence, and living in the moment/accomplishing goals in baby steps.

Tennis was the only hobby I was invested in and despite the struggles, it came with, I still view it as an efficient way to cope and release my stress. Furthermore, tennis helped me reflect on myself especially mentally. Throughout my first few games as a singles player, I lacked confidence which caused my game to decrease more and more each time weakening my mindset. After every game, I’d feel tears well up in my eyes, dreading my accomplishment until my coach gave me the greatest pep talk of a lifetime.

“Live as if you were to die tomorrow. Learn as if you were to live forever.”

Mahatma Gandhi

One significant line I can recall my coach telling me was, “Focus on the little points and take small steps. Don’t worry about the score”. This did absolute wonders for me. It helped me realize that I should just let loose and have fun, live in the moment and that the most important of my matches was to be able to look for improvement. After all, we can’t improve consistently forever. Our improvement comes in steps, some needing repairs on the way. Furthermore, like how some stairs are in need of reparations, fixing them might cause more damage, abolishing an entire estate if you aren’t careful. Hence, change is a risk. It’s like a balancing beam and you have no perception of the opportunities it could bring unless you seize them.

Moreover, it’s the little things that matter. In the end, our lives are like the Penrose Steps, always leaving room for improvement and possibilities to overcome hardships and obstacles.

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