He is a Serbian professional tennis player currently ranked number one in men’s singles. He has won 12 grand slam singles titles, the fourth most in history. He is Novak Djokovic, and here is my take on his top 10 rules for success. Number one is my personal favorite, and make sure to stick around all the way to the end for some special bonus footage of him playing as a six-year-old.
Novak Djokovic’s Top 10 Rules For Business and Success
Rule #1: Dream Big
Belgrade has many cities around Serbia has suffered a lot because of war. Many people have had the doubts of what tomorrow brings. They were not certain they are able to support their children, and in this particular situation, my parents too.
Knowing what we have been through actually strengthened my character. I used to run around outside of our restaurant and very nearby, something was going on, some kind of construction. I asked the workers, and then they told me that they’re building tennis courts.
I never heard the word tennis. I knew football and some other sports but tennis was absolutely new to me and to my family. I fell in love instantly with the sport.
I used to play for hours against the wall. On the television, I watched Pete Sampras play for his first Wimbledon title. That’s when I decided to dream big and dream about being one day in the Centre Court of Wimbledon holding the trophy.
Rule #2: Have Winning Mindset
Interviewer: There’s something you said that you’re reaching your peak. Do you think though you could still take it to another level or do you think this is as good as it’s going to get for you?
I like to use one quote that the limitations exist only in our mind, and if you start using imaginations, then your possibilities become limitless. That’s kind of a mindset that I have. I use my imagination. I do see myself achieving more. I’m hoping, I’m working hard on it, not only myself but the entire team around me.
Rule #3: #Believe
It’s incredible how the excitement is rising as you approach any grand slam, and especially for me here in Paris, the one that I didn’t win, it’s completely different feeling coming to Paris and preparing for Roland Garros than any other event, really not in terms of pressure and expectations but just in terms of excitement and getting on the court, competing and trying to see how far I can get but that’s the only thing I look forward to, really.
I mean, I’ve been building up and winning a lot of matches and putting myself in really position that maybe I never had before prior to Roland Garros so hopefully this is the year. I can’t guarantee anything, I can’t predict anything, I can’t say how the tournament is going to go but I’m going to try to give myself reason to believe I can make it through an everyday commitment, discipline, and things that I can influence.
Rule #4: Appreciate What You Have
I appreciate things in life and I value everything I have much more because of the past that I had. Serbia is a small country. Of course, very small comparing to United States. And we had a tough past especially in the last three decades. We had two wars. We had the sanctions embargo for 10 years.
People had to wait in the line for bread and milk. It was tough. I’ve been through all of that with my grandparents, with my parents. There were times when I was not able to travel for the tournaments in Junior Circuit because we didn’t have the possibility, financial possibilities but when I look back, I’m happy that I had the past like this because as I said in the beginning, it made me appreciate everything I have now.
Interviewer: Were you and your family in physical danger when you were a kid?
Yes. Yes, we were. I think most people would agree that war is something that doesn’t bring any good to anybody. Nobody wins in the war so I don’t wish anybody to experience what I and my family or many Serbian people have experienced.
You see the planes flying over your head and bombs and people running away, crying, buildings burning, and so forth. It was really tough. You were of course worried for your survival, what the next day brings but most importantly, we stayed together as people and as family, and it made us stronger.
Interviewer: That never leaves you, does it? You always have that in you, that experience that you lived through?
Yes. Yes, I do. Actually it has been a big part of my mental strength and ability to cope with big moments in my tennis career and with the pressure and expectations and so forth.
Interviewer: And you are able to hang on to that perspective? A lot of times, things like that that are life-changing, things would be automatic but sometimes they drift away but you are able to hang on to that each and every day of your life.
Yeah. Of course, there are some memories that I would not like to have again but there are images that stick in your mind for all of your life but you can never ask people to forget but they can forgive and move on, and I think you can always learn from the experience, try to understand what your purpose is, and why that has happened, and of course, always be positive.
Rule #5: Have Realistic Goals
My lifelong ambition is to become number one in the world, and I know that I relatively close to achieving this goal but I don’t want to put any pressure on myself with regards to this aim. It’s important to remember that I’m only 21, and there are not many players who have become number one in the world at this age.
I simply wish to be realistic in my goal. At the moment, there are two players in front of me who are better than me. I’ll do all I can to improve by at least position in the forthcoming year but I can’t say for definite that this will happen. We’ll just have to wait and see.
Rule #6: Always Keep Growing
Yeah, I believe each season is bringing some new challenges and allowing you to grow in many levels so I feel like today I’m more matured as a person, I’ve grown, I have improved, I have learned how to deal with my emotions better, and just overall a stronger player physically and mentally as well so I’m trying to incorporate all these experiences and things that made me stronger and made me who I am today, and of course, keep the right path going.
Rule #7: Have A Holistic Approach To Life
Interviewer: I think it was Rafa who said that you’re having one of the most memorable seasons in the history of the sport. So what are you doing differently this year?
I’ve been trying to obviously respect the same kind of regime of training and a lifestyle and dedication and professionalism to the sport that I have had over the course of the last five, six years, and it’s been working really well.
I think I just managed to reach at this time of my career in my life a peak of my abilities, mental, emotional, and physical so everything kind of came together. I’m more experienced player. I know how to handle pressure on and off the court. I approach the tennis life very holistically, and I try to cover every aspect of my life and my being in order to reach that height.
Rule #8: Overcome Obstacles
But if you see the football players, when they win a big title, champions league for example, a lot of them, they fall to the ground. It’s just that so many emotions going through your mind, through your body. Undoubtedly there is a huge pressure and expectations and the importance of that moment, and you’re aware of that.
You can’t put it aside and say, “Okay, I’m going to ignore it.” No, it becomes a part of you. It consumes you. Now it’s on you if you are able to overcome that obstacle, to face that, I would say, big sensation of mix of doubts, fears, excitement, pressure, or so forth, and if you are able to become one with it, then it allows you to get to where you want to be.
Rule #9: Chase Your Dreams
Rule #10: Have Fun
Thank you, guys. I made this because Crookqt asked me to. So if there is a famous entrepreneur you want me to profile next, leave in the comments below, and I’ll see what I can do. I also love to know which of Novak’s top 10 rules had the biggest impact on you and why.
Leave it in the comments, and I will join in the discussion. Finally I want to give a quick shout-out to Edward Or from BounceWeb. Ed, thank you so much for picking up a copy of my book.
Thank you so much. Continue to believe, or whatever your one word is, and I’ll see you soon.
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