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Lessons I've Learned from My Life on the Links
On the nature of champions
The most significant common intangible among the truly great is that they enjoy adversity. They want to be put in fear-inducing situations because they know it is the ultimate test. The true prize is not the trophy. Rather, the prize is the knowledge that at precisely the right moment, one is able to exercise absolute self-control and precise judgment.
We who play the game know that sometimes we get pleasant and unexpected surprises, such as a hole-in-one or a ball that skips off the water and onto dry land. We also know we are equally likely to get a bad break -- a wild bounce of the ball, a sudden gust of wind. The game leaves us no choice but to accept the good with the bad and to move on to the next shot.
The game of golf challenges your mind anew every single day and presents you with the ultimate opponent: yourself. I've always been amazed that people can derive so much satisfaction out of beating others when they have never taken the ultimate test of battling themselves.
On the role of mind
The swing is not the thing. The professional tours were and still are loaded with people who can swing the golf club as gracefully as you please. That does not make them great players. The difference between being a good swinger of the club and a great player lies between the ears, in the mind. To keep your mind open to learning new things is to keep progressing forward in life.
On positive thinking
I will say without hesitation that you cannot achieve any goal if you have negative thoughts running through your head. You must have positive and, what might seem to others, bold thoughts. This is not to say that you should ignore the strengths of an opponent, whether on the golf course, on a sales call, or in the boardroom. Acknowledge his strengths? Yes. Dwell on them? No.