Tennis great Andre Agassi has been stirring up the media on the cover of People Magazine and Late Night with David Letterman. In his new book, “Open”, Agassi reveals he used Crystal Meth on the tour and that he hated tennis. The tennis world is shocked, but I wasn’t surprised because of a conversation I had with Andre 15 years ago at the Scoreboard Sports Pub in Bradenton, Florida. I’ve never spoken publically about our conversation because it was private, but now that the book is out, I’m comfortable sharing it. I’m quite sure Andre would approve. There’s a mental toughness/critical thinking lesson here for all of us seeking more success. Listen and see what you think. I’ll look forward to your comments.  Steve Siebold

Steve Siebold
Author and Professional Speaker since 1997. Past Chairman of the National Speakers Association's Million Dollar Speakers Group. Author of 11 books with 1.4 million copies in print.

20 thoughts on “My Secret Conversation with Andre Agassi”

  1. If Andre Agassi stepped into the sphere of competition without the desire to be the greatest tennis player, then I think he likely approached his competitors without fear of failure. When you have the passion to be the best you can be, overcoming fear of failure is in my opinion a greater obstacle. I am more interested in hearing from people who face the fear of failure, battle with it and continue to strive for success than to hear from people whose talent lead them to succeed without passion. I will be looking for “Feel the Fear and Do It Anyway”. Thanks.


  2. You guys have reminded me of a book that really helped me to get out of my comfort zone (which really is our growth zone) The book is called “Feel the Fear and Do It Anyway” by Susan Jeffers I recommend it highly.

  3. Yes, mike sir,

    You said: Have fear? Do it with fear and soon fear won’t be an issue.

    I remind something mind, wealth is behind your fear. Whenever you have you should go with it and you will win surely.


  4. Fear of failure seems to be the common denominator in what is stopping people from living their dreams. How does this fear arise? What lies behind the idea that failures are and must be permanent?

  5. I believe that the beginning of mental toughness is having the courage to face yourself and determine what your gifts are and coming into an alignment with who you really are. This tennis player reminded me of the proverbial executive climibng frantically up the corporate ladder only to discover that he had his ladder leaning up against the wrong building. Some would call it “doing the right thing but for he wrong reason” This can be what leads people who have no mental toughness to self destruct.

  6. Thank you sir,

    Now i understood real meaning of coming back. Yes, i like this blog. It is really nice to discuss important things. I take regular visit of this site.

    I will try to find my answers here. Thank you to all of you.


  7. Hello Mike sir,

    Here you said something like: If I’m correct that more than a dozen or two click in than most who do are living in either a poverty or middle class mentality BUT if they keep coming back that can change.

    I want to know what do you mean by coming back that can change?

    I am also coming from middle class and believe that i have to remove those limiting beliefs in order to live rich and quality life.

    Please help me,


  8. Steve,

    You might want to consider listing some of your favorite/best blog post in the right hand column of your blog. Many bloggers offer this and it gives people a quick way of applying the blog’s content to their lives.

  9. Some of the toughest people I know show their toughness when they are ill. My wife is one of them. For six years she suffered and it was sheer will power and desire to live a full life that kept her going.

    There were times she was lost in confusion and pain when she’d cry out: I hate my life. I hate my life because I always hurt! She didn’t hate life – she hated her life with pain.

    Faith sustained her until faith and near hopelessness were replaced with survival momentum – she just kept going. She was mentally tough because she knew what she wanted to live for and why.

    Today all that pain is gone.

    I meet many people in hopelessness because of pain and when I find out how long they’ve kept going and continue to seek help I remind them of the strength of their will and spirit and that’s mental toughness.

    Andre Agassi has that too – for other reasons – mental toughness can show itself in many ways.


  10. Mike Michelozzi: Quite right, old fellow. Many people may have negative attitudes.

    What happens if government would disappear?
    Unless some other form of organizational agenda would crystallize, I’d say anarchy. A state of anarchy is by defintion the lack of a societal structure.

    Then, if all charity support programs would disappear what would happen?
    What has always happened throughout history, a few individuals rise and a majority lives in despair. A proportional amount dies of starvation due to extreme competition. That is what already takes place today. On our planet about 20.000 persons a day die from starvation.

    Yes, many of us have an amazing capacity beyond our wildest dreams. But some of us do not, due to many reasons. Illness being one of them.

  11. “By making themselves able to stay at the jobs they hate, they exhibit the most Stoic toughness. And this iron will could be directed towards their goals as opposed to further away from them.” — Leo

    Could it also be that: 1. some people are not stoic doing what they say they hate they just have bad attitudes; 2. some people are not stoic doing what they say they hate it’s the best they can do all things considered?

    Another question: does everyone have equal ability equal opportunity to engage in a mental touchness that would lead them to world class performance?

    Would human behavior change if tomorrow there were no government or charity support programs for anyone – over the next two decades how would life change in the USA?


  12. I believe Andre Agassi showed pure mental toughness as going into a world career of tennis whilst hating it. However, his mental energy was misguided.

    In my opinion a majority of people don’t realize their abilities: By making themselves able to stay at the jobs they hate, they exhibit the most Stoic toughness. And this iron will could be directed towards their goals as opposed to further away from them.

  13. Good point, Leo.

    Steve, once upon a time I realized it was OK to get swung at – it teaches you how to do quick leg work and have great reflexes – it’s OK to challenge your own thinking by not being afraid to expose it AND it’s the only way I know of to improve yourself in every way.

    If you don’t do that you’re not living in a mental toughness reality of world class thinking as you define it. It’s all exercise and exercise strengthens the muscles of the mind.

    You do have the freedom to do it, Steve, and I also understand the constraints of the work place – to a degree. BUT there are enough places outside the work place to confront your own thinking and conclusions for personal growth – your blog being one of them.

    Best to you.


  14. Mike,

    You’re exactly right. I know because I get emails after every mental toughness post from people who agree or disagree but are afraid to post their opinion on the comments section of the blog. So many people are operating in fear, but in a sense I don’t blame them from protecting themselves from people who might hold their opinions against them, especially in the workplace. I’m just grateful to have the freedom to throw these ideas out there for people’s consideration.
    Thanks for commenting, Mike. I always look forward to your responses.

  15. Dom: You are very brave to start walking down a new path. It is also wise of you to finish the course as you have so little left of it. It might be uselful in another context, perhaps? Bravo!

    As for me personally I am working hard on not working as a teacher anymore. What gets me going is the fact that I strongly feel that I did not enter this planet to teach children, but to do something completely different. Trying to find out what that is…

    Mike: If you are living passionately your task might seem less strenuous. Still, at times you would have to put up with the work. So, in my point of view you wouldn’t need mental toughness but you could not escape labour itself. I think Steve’s point is that we need mental toughness in order to get to where we want to go. Once there, the toughness=the tool, might replaced by other tools. Isn’t that what personal development is about? Finding tools and strategies that helps us move forward in our exploration of ourselves and our lives.

  16. This is a problem that I have been battling for the past few years, I was pressured into entering medical school but it has been only coming towards the end of the course that I realise what hollow victories i have been having. I can recount feeling like Andre did many times but what was worse is that I became ashamed of myself because I could only see my desire to be approved as a weakness. I am now recovering and though I want to finish the course in next year, I am working towards a new path..wish me luck. Steve this is a great post and hints to the dark side of having well intentioned but very ambitious parents.

  17. I’ve got to post again, Steve.

    My guess is that hundreds maybe thousands click into here but only a few post and I think I know the reason: mental toughness and world class thinking require fearless engagement or over coming fears to engage in a potentially threatening activity – in this case discussing ideas.

    When you discuss ideas you have to bare yours and with or without confidence be ready to defend, learn, change, and otherwise take a stand.

    If I’m correct that more than a dozen or two click in than most who do are living in either a poverty or middle class mentality BUT if they keep coming back that can change.

    I looked in a few months before I was ready to post anything – I can’t imagine not posting now.



  18. Steve I could talk a lot about this one not from just observation but from experience in a couple of ways.

    Here’s a question for everyone: when someone is totally passionately involved with something so connected that it’s a 24/7 experience, when is mental toughness if at all needed?

    In other words, when you totally love what you do is mental toughness a part of the equation or does that passion negate the need to be mentally tough as every action is without resistence hence free, focused, enjoyed and expected.

    Great post for thought, Steve.


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