Through the years I realised that there are many more benefits to the tennis journey I was on then there were downfalls, my childhood environment definitely had an affect on my social anxiety disorder through my mid 20's to my early 30's but it's important for me not to have any regrets in life, even my parents separation at the age of 17 and my dad telling my mom goodbye before departing to his hometown was something I learned from.

Being a professional or amateur athlete can truly turn you into a great person, in fact some of the life lessons you learn in sports can not be taught, only experienced and fully understood at the time. For example self discipline, that's something nobody can really teach you it's something that you gain by following your passion and having a clear image in your mind of how you want the outcome to be, and then taking action in a way that isn't self destructive. It teaches you that life can be unpredictable and the importance of preparation, and most importantly it teaches you that it's OK to fail and that greatness in any sport or occupation is measured by the way a person reacts to falling, failure then is expected and the pressure to be perfect is lifted from the shoulders.

I had a teacher by the name of Mr Kelso back in high school who was a man that looked very much like Santa Claus with his scruffy white beard, big belly and amazingly strong presence. He was my social studies and physical education teacher, it's funny that when I think back to high school the only teacher that jumps to my mind is Mr Kelso. He was the only teacher I had that cared about how I was developing as a tennis player, as well as a person, can you think of a similar person from your past?

I consider my life quite a success in my eyes but most of my teachers taught me useless junk back then that I rarely got a chance to use and apply in my adult years, but Mr Kelso stuck out because he took the time to come watch me compete in tennis tournaments all the time and he also taught me the ability to take criticism well. Professional athletes are always faced with some kind of criticism from somewhere, for me it was some of my first tennis coaches saying i'll never be a professional tennis player because I was too small, or how my fellow tennis players would mention to me how skinny I was and that I would never be able to do anything in sports because of that. Criticism used to upset me and at a later age I was actually afraid of being criticised because it greatly added to my high levels of anxiety that turned into being labeled as having an anxiety disorder, until I changed my reaction to it and remembered the lessons Mr Kelso taught me back in high school.

We will receive criticism from many many people in our lives but it's important to consider who is giving you the criticism and separate them by importance to you as a person, finally it's important to change your perspective on what criticism is, view it as an opportunity to improve yourself rather then getting caught up in feeling embarrassed or humiliated.

Author's Bio: 

My name is Dennis Simsek and for 6 years during my mid 20's to early 30's I was overwhelmed with fear. I lost great relationships with people due to my increasing anxiety levels during social interactions and my fears of being judged wrongly by people, now I live an incredible and grateful life and the time has come to share my secrets of how i recovered naturally with the world.