Success Requires Mastering the Inner and Outer Game

Shah Rukh Khan, India’s most celebrated actor, didn’t reach the top by just being a good actor.

Warren Buffet didn’t become the richest investor by just spotting great businesses and buying them at low prices.

Roger Federer didn’t become one of the greatest tennis players by just being amazing at playing tennis.

Recognizing your specific skill and then working hard to hone it is one thing. Becoming very successful using that skillset is another thing.

Reaching the top requires you to master both the inner and the outer game.

The inner game is what goes on in your head, what you believe in, how deftly you are able to work at it.

Inner game is about growth mindset. It is the belief that you can get better at doing something. It is spending hours at practicing the right thing.

But that is not enough to be truly successful.

Shah Rukh Khan or any other successful actor for that matter also needed to play the outer game well to make it to the top.

That requires networking with the right producers, doing films that he didn’t like at first, grabbing opportunities which others passed on, persuading good people to work with him, hiring the right managers and agents.

Spotting a great business and trying to buy it at a low price is one thing. Convincing the entrepreneur to sell is another. Warren Buffet did that and that required some amazing persuasion skills.

Playing great tennis is one thing. But the ability to be totally calm in the face of defeat and compartmentalizing it to the extent that you totally forget about your crushing defeat in a grand slam final and immediately start playing with your twins right after the match is a whole another skillset. Roger Federer is a master at compartmentalizing.

He would also go out of the way to help brands and fellow players when it came to things like a commercial shoot or a fundraiser.

Next time when you think that you’re as good as acting or at business or at playing tennis as someone who’s super successful, know that it’s not just about that one game.

Success requires playing both the inner and outer games, and playing them really well.


  1. A fascinating discussion is definitely worth comment. I do believe that you should publish more about this issue, it may not be a taboo matter but usually folks dont speak about such subjects. To the next! Cheers!!

Leave a Reply

Share this page using the buttons below

Abhijeet Mukherjee is an entrepreneur who built and ran a digital media company profitably for years. Here he writes about enhancing your outlook & skills in order to stand out and do great work. He loves exploring the world of content creation, entrepreneurship, productivity and personal growth.