My top five most important match points

Life can be much like a game of table tennis; the ball goes back and forth. Angled, screwed, topped and sometimes difficult to predict. It can touch the net or table edge to create an impossible angle. Time is often a critical factor. You have to maintain just the right distance from the table to avoid ending up in an impossible position where it is more about trying to save the situation rather than taking the initiative and having the ability to win the point.

For this is how it is with both everyday life and life in general. Things happen all the time that are difficult to predict. If you are not prepared, it is difficult to respond. And preparation requires an inner strength. Being attentive, sorting and prioritising. Having the energy. Thinking one step ahead. Being prepared for the unexpected. Having the courage.

I have enjoyed the best environment you could ever wish for. A wonderful family that has given me a lot of love and a safe upbringing in Sweden. Friends that have been there for me. I have been in the right place at the right time. Made choices in life that in retrospect can be seen as well thought-out and natural. But it has to be said, it was not always so straightforward. If there is such a thing as luck, then I have had it on my side.

You can make all the right decisions and do all the right things, but without that smidgeon of luck, life can take a completely different path. And I've been really fortunate spending my time doing what I loved from the very beginning: training, competing and winning. Which for the most part was about winning over myself.

I think your worst opponent is too often your own self. An opponent more difficult to predict and defeat than any other. An opponent you must reach an inner harmony with instead.

My numerous trips around the world, and above all the contact I have had with the Chinese people with their many insights on life, has taught me a lot. Creating a set of goals, placing higher and higher demands and then exceeding them is something that must be done in a good balance with both yourself and your surroundings. A basic requirement in terms of your own successes and failures, as well as those of others, is humility.

And trying to help where you can, not only makes the person being helped stronger. The feeling of goodness helps create an inner harmony. A harmony to take with you in your everyday life. A harmony to take with you through your whole life. A harmony that strengthens your own mind more than any kind of training could do.

J-O Waldner

Kyäni - Experience mor