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A Lesson in Obsessions From Novak Djokovic

I’ve found the world-famous tennis star Novak Djokovic’s situation in Australia fascinating. If you’re not familiar, he tried to enter Australia unvaccinated to play the Australian Open and was banned from the country for 3 years after several legal maneuvers.

What I find so fascinating is how his obsession for the most elite performance possible—part of his decision not to be vaccinated—led to his deportation from the country and elimination from one of the world’s biggest games. It doesn’t stop there. He might also be banned from the French and the American Opens later this year if he refuses vaccination.

Yet, his experience exposed an important truth and lesson for us all: obsessions have unintended consequences.

Mr. Djokovic might argue all of this was worth it for him. And I certainly don’t fault him for pushing the boundaries in the pursuit of peak, world-class performance. It’s difficult for anyone to understand the level at which he plays, let alone his methods to get there. But did he think his entire year of tournaments was potentially on the line?

The goal here is to keep our obsessions in context and to check in with ourselves to ensure they are pulling us toward our goal, and not creating a blindspot of unintended consequences. 

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