Ed Tseng, founder of Tennis Solutions/Tseng Performance, walks around with a rock in his pocket. Every day.
“I call it my gratitude rock,” he says. “During the day I reach in my pocket, hold the rock and feel grateful for something. At the end of the day, I take the rock out of my pocket and stay aware of how grateful I am.”
Being grateful is a crucial part of achieving happiness in life, which is a key message in the workshops Tseng offers. Tseng will present “Peak Performance for Business and Life” on Wednesday, June 18, at 7:30 a.m. at the Nassau Club, as part of the Princeton Regional Chamber of Commerce’s Business Before Business breakfast meeting. Cost: $30. For more information, call 609-924-1776.
“There’s only one thing we can all control and that’s our mind,” he says. “Too often, we complain about what’s happening to us. But ultimately what we’re looking for is a state of mind. All of us are just looking for happiness on this planet.”
Often, we’re looking in the wrong places. “We look for money, the big house, the nicer car,” Tseng says. “But when I ask people a series of questions, it boils down to a search for happiness. The truth is, you can get that now. And the real key is gratitude.”
And he knows a lot about gratitude. The entrepreneur is an author, motivational speaker, and tennis pro who was the United States Tennis Association/New Jersey District Pro of the Year in 2005. He also knows failure. Twice he failed out of college while pursuing a computer career, a path his father wanted him to pursue because he himself was a programmer.
“I was ‘in’ computers, but, not ‘into’ computers,” Tseng says. “To really succeed, you need to be into what you are doing. When you are ‘into’ something, you follow the process much more. People don’t sing to get to the end of the song, they sing for the joy of the song. It makes them feel good. When you enjoy the process, you get into the work. Then you win.”
Act energetic. People can instantly become better by improving their energy level. Too often people act how they feel. “If they are tired or hungry, they act tired and hungry,” Tseng says. “You may feel low energy, but then you have to act with high energy. It’s a choice, but most people won’t do that.”
Sales people, for example, need a lot of high-energy moments. But they can improve by changing their energy level — without changing their approach or technique.
Wanting is a problem. People who appreciate what they have get more energy and experience more happiness. “Gratitude is a big part of life,” Tseng says. “Whether you are grateful for your health, your family, or the trees around us, it affects your energy level and success.”
How to set goals. Many people set goals the wrong way. Typically, people will set low, attainable goals for their sales or business success. Then they reach those low goals and settle where they are. “If you want to achieve greatness, you need to set your goals high,” Tseng says. “You can only become as great as your own self-image.
Failure sets the stage for the future. “The only thing we can change is our minds,” says Tseng. “Sometimes we have to fake success until we get there.” What is needed is the mindset to win. “If you know what you want to do, just do it and it becomes real.”
This approach helped Tseng after he failed out of college. He decided he wanted to become a tennis pro, even though he didn’t have the experience. He earned his bachelor’s in marketing and professional tennis management and enrolled in Ferris State University in Michigan and offered to work at a club for free to learn the game. “Suddenly, I was into school instead of just in school,” Tseng says. “I had hit rock bottom with my first attempts at college and bounced back. I tell that story because it motivates people. If I failed out and then became Pro of the Year, imagine what they can do.”
With his can-do attitude and gratitude, Tseng, who grew up in West Windsor and now lives in Lawrenceville, has built a motivational business and converted his father’s thinking about the need to follow in his footsteps as a programmer. Next month, his approach will be detailed in his new book, “Game. Set. Life. Peak Performance for Sports and Life.” It will show how the principles of sports apply to all areas of life.
Now 34, he also publishes a daily blog at www.edtseng.bl– ogspot.com, which includes inspirational messages and words of wisdom that help people motivate themselves to raise their energy levels. “I care about how I make people feel. If I give them hope and energy to become better, my job is done,” he says.