Hi there!

It’s almost the weekend and it’s time for another Ask Ash post. For those who are new to the blog, I ask WatchMojo Founder and CEO Ashkan Karbasfrooshan on various topics daily, ranging from what is going on in the news, to career advice for students and entrepreneurs.

Naomi Osaka has decided to withdraw from Wimbledon to spend personal time with family and friends. At the French Open this year, she made it very public to the press that she would withdraw from the tournament as she has had struggles with depression and anxiety for quite some time. 

More on Naomi Osaka withdrawing from Wimbledon can be found here: 


As mental health is one of the most important things in life, I wanted to get Ash’s thoughts on Naomi Osaka, and some insight on how he deals with stress in the workplace, and his opinion on goal-setting.

– 1) What were your reactions when Naomi Osaka withdrew from the French Open, and now deciding not to play Wimbledon?

Ash’s Response:

I think what you are seeing is the further empowerment of athletes, particularly the most successful ones. Osaka generated more revenue last year than any other female athlete, which means that she has the ability and possibility to sit out a tournament, whereas other younger and less successful athletes don’t necessarily have. In any case, I’ve always supported anyone who struggles with overcoming obstacles and adversity, some of which are psychological and mental. As a general comment, adversity does build up resilience which is arguably as important if not more than persistence to succeed. But by the same token, it’s good to bend a bit to develop your strength, but if one is at the breaking point, it’s best to realize that and take a break.

The only thing I would say about Naomi‘s handling of the situation at the French Open was that she seemed to single-handedly decide to get out of the media obligations and announced it through Instagram which forced the association to criticize her and stand their ground. In other words she missed an opportunity to work with the association in a more constructive manner to cast a spotlight on the pressures of the sports, mental well-being etc., but that is a detail and in the grand scheme of things I think if she has the privilege to sit out, then more power to her… so while Piers Morgan was wrong to call her a spoiled brat, I just hope that she realizes her good fortune and privilege, because others won’t have the means or leverage to do the same. 

2) Relating mental health to the workplace, how do you deal with stress, and what would you recommend to someone who has a lot of stress and anxiety at the workplace?

Ash’s Response:

That’s a great question. Frankly, I think it starts with a) healthy habits: eating well, sleeping well, etc. Now that said, we all do get stressed, and that is why it’s important to also have b) positive coping mechanisms: exercise, meditation, etc. It’s easier said than done, but you need to find ways to balance and release some steam, which means having hobbies and seeing the forest through the trees. Bottom line: health and happiness matter more, work is a means to an end and if it becomes stressful to take a step back, there’s no shame in that.

3) Are you someone who sets goals? How do you set realistic goals so that it does not create more stress and anxiety?

Ash’s Response:

I’m a very ambitious person and I have a lot of big objectives but ironically I don’t necessarily set goals in that sense. I care more about the work ethic, the little things required to succeed than throwing out our big goals that sound great but are hard to hit. Like, I won’t say “I need to lose 10 lbs, but I will say that I want to play soccer twice per week, not have sugar for example, and so on. Furthermore, I’m not a “player” alone, but more of a “player/coach,” so my goals need to be realistic and scalable throughout the organization, so it’s more about behavioral and work ethic.

Lastly, if you want to submit questions to Ash directly, you can do so by clicking the link here: https://watchmojo.com/suggest/AskMojo%20-%20WatchMojo’s%20founder%20Ash