You can make the difference

August 27, 2012 | 10 comments

I have captained several USTA tennis teams over the last seven years, and one lesson I’ve learned about winning is that one person’s performance can make all the difference between a team that wins or loses.

On my senior doubles team, for instance, six players are on court at a time during a tournament. Three pairs on my team compete against three pairs on another team. Whichever team wins two out of three matches, or all three matches, is the winning team. During a tournament we play several teams, and the team that wins the most overall matches moves on to the next level of competition. A team can move from local to sectional to national competition.
My teams have made it many times to the sectional level, but not quite to the national. You have to be really good to go that far! We’re working on it…LOL
But each time we make it to sectionals, the difference between advancing further or not has been one third set tie-break. If just one of us on the team who lost a set (out of perhaps 20 or more sets played) had won that set, the whole team would have advanced.
Of course, it is not even remotely fair to point a finger at a particular player and say, “If you had won we all would have won!” It doesn’t work that way, because in the process of playing there are many variables that affect outcomes, and more than one player will lose a set or more along the way. Who is to say which player should have been “the one?” No one! Everyone does his best, and that’s all we expect out of each other.
But the spiritual lesson is not lost on me. One person’s actions can make all the difference between a team that wins or loses.
I apply the rule to all activities of life: to success in the home, at work, in business, in relationships, in community affairs, in politics, in the world at large. One person’s right thought and activity can make all the difference for a large group of “players” they work with.
Jesus made the difference. Mary Baker Eddy made the difference. Mandela, Gandhi, Martin Luther King, made the difference. They were each one person, but their ideals and values were so worthy and strong, they transformed the world.
You may not be a world-transformer, but you can certainly be a home-transformer, a community-transformer, a church-transformer.
Never underestimate the good effect your right thinking and activity has on others. It does spread and leaven beyond anything you know.
Don’t wait for the other person to make the difference. You be the difference! That’s all it takes to move the team you’re on, whether it’s family, church, business or community, from a losing streak to the winning side and to the next level.
Play “your matches” in life, as if the whole team’s success depends upon how well you do.

10 thoughts on “You can make the difference”

  1. That is so good. In a nation where there is plenty of name calling and blaming, how refreshing your comments on finger pointing are. I have found when I am, or someone else is, blaming, we should be spending that time working to improve things!! Sounds like your team has quite a racquet going on there!! THANKS!!

  2. Love this. One thing jumped out at me. Seems almost like Jesus, Mary Baker Eddy, Ghandi, King, etc. are given equal footing in changing the world. No one individuality accomplished what Jesus did, and no one ever will. The Master IS the light of the world, the hope of the race and no one can ever stand in his shoes (as the disciples found out when they tried to equate him with Moses and Elijah).

  3. Being part of a tennis family I especially like the tennis analogy. “Be the difference” makes ALL the difference. Thank you for this wonderful inspiration on how to help move things to a new level.

  4. very nice idea! we are currently attempting to ‘be the difference’ for our getting older family. we benefit from the change we are experiencing and it is being noticed!

  5. A friend gave me a hanging sign it said: “Be the peace you wish to see in the world”. Yes we can “be the difference.

  6. Thank you Evan. What really jumped out at me and reassured me was this:

    “Never underestimate the good effect your right thinking and activity has on others. It does spread and leaven beyond anything you know.”

    Sometimes the mortal mind aka the self will aka FEAR, wants to tell me I am crazy for thinking that MY THINKING, affects others and the outcome…..I share with others and they don’t believe me…..but what BLESSES ONE BLESSES ALL. A BUTTERFLY MOVES HIS WINGS and the whole world changes. Each and every thought we have affects people all over the world that we will never meet….We never know. ANd I dont need to take any credit to keep monitoring and uplifting my thinking!!!! The reward is I feel better and sometimes I get to see the rapid effects a change in my thought can have in another person, especially those that I speak to on a daily basis. Many of them will probably never know what I do or how hard I work to correct my thought about them but that is ok, i don’t need them to know and I don’t need any credit.

  7. QUestion Evan, what if I want to change the world? Is this something I choose to devote myself to or am I just called or not called?? I have had a few visions of how I could transform the world but nothing seemed to happen yet…..I am listening but keep getting pulled in so many directions.

  8. To above,

    You change the world by improving your thought about the world.

    We each express our thoughts. So, if you see a need in the world, be the supply that meets that need through the life you live and the deeds you do. This will change the world.

  9. It just occurred to me, as I re-read this, that the Christian Science movement is not like a train, where one driver controls the ride for everyone who happens to hop on. It’s more like a rowing team (or crew) where everyone must row because team success depends on individual strength and discipline. Thank you for this blog, Evan.

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