“Ever tried. Ever failed. No matter. Try again. Fail again. Fail better.”
Nothing makes me happier than to see Tiger Woods reacquiring his competitive powers in the recent PGA Tour events in which he has played.
And even if you are not a Tiger Woods fan you can’t help but admire his never-say-never attitude.
Tiger has experienced his share of set-backs over recent years, like many golfers, but I don’t think anyone would argue that he is one of the most determined and resolute individuals in professional sport?
His grit and determination is a model for all of us to understand and learn from—even though his circumstances are quite different from ours.
Tiger has not only collected a cache of trophies and championships over his career, he has also amassed phenomenal wealth from his golfing prowess.
So you have to wonder what kind of competitive drive he has, a drive that has him working as hard as ever, after nearly 20 years on tour, when he doesn’t have to.
The Common Trait of Successful Individuals
It is actually quite common to find high achieving individuals from the realms of professional sport and also business to have amassed immense financial wealth over their career, and yet they are still working as hard as ever, as if they didn’t have a cent to their name.
Clearly financial freedom isn’t the only motivation that drives them. And it’s not about winning either, because when you talk to these individuals they will tell you that they lose many times more than they win.
They are smart enough to know that they can’t ‘control’ much of anything in their life—especially winning. So why do they keep pushing themselves, and why do they try to keep getting better when they really don’t have to?
I believe that their core driver is the consistent idea that they can remain competitive in an ever changing world over a long period of time. In other words, they love the challenge of continually adapting and improving their skills and abilities to be a constant and competitive force in whatever they do.
Just look at the golfing greats such as Nicklaus, Palmer, Player and Norman who went into business with the same competitive drive they had on the golf course and have carved out a successful niche in other professional domains.
Developing Your Competitive Nature
There’s a lesson here for all of us about the importance of persisting in the face of adversity, and to believe that you have the ability to adapt, grow and continually find ways to improve your competitive nature.
How would you answer the following questions about your current competitive drive and nature?
We have worked with many elite golfers over the years and what we have learned from our experience is the guys and gals that stay in the game and continually get better are the most competitive golfers. They are the golfers who keep adapting and adjusting their game to the constant challenges they face.
The top professional golfers are able to adjust and adapt constantly and keep improving. You see, as your score average gets lower you cannot keep doing the same things that got you to that place.
What got you there won’t keep you there, or get you where you wish to go. You need different information sources constantly, and you need to keep improving your skills to keep lowering your golf scores.
When you practice to improve your game there is a vast difference between just practicing and hoping to get better, verses practicing with a highly evolved sense of purpose.
Practicing to Practice
Many golfers just go through the motions with their practice sessions with little drive to improve, and this lack of focused commitment usually means that they don't see the bigger picture of what's possible as a result of disciplined practice.
Practicing to practice is a recipe for disaster, and if you often feel like you are doing this then get yourself out of this bad habit today. This habit is unproductive and will not help you to achieve the break through's you desire.
Practicing to Compete
On the other hand golfers who commit themselves to practicing as if they are always competing are doing just what Tiger and other exceptional individuals know and do. They take every practice session seriously, not ever wanting to waste one golf shot, or for that matter one minute of their time.
The United States Olympic committee's motto can be seen all over the Olympic Training Center campuses in Colorado Springs, Colorado. These small signs can be seen from the gym, to the dining room, and also on doors to different training venues, and the signs simply read...
Athletes, coaches, sports scientists and administrators are reminded constantly that the goal is the process of being your best every day, with the knowledge that you can and will find a way to be a better version of yourself tomorrow.
You can develop and improve your competitive nature by understanding the difference between Practicing to Practice and Practicing to Compete.
Never waste a minute of your time practicing without a definite and defined purpose. Seek out the specialist service providers that can guide you towards your goals and keep you right on the edge of your capability.
Create your own sign that reads 'It's Not Every Four Rounds, It's Every Shot" which you can place in locations you frequent that constantly reminds you of your need to stay competitive.
Tiger Woods is an exceptional golfer, but he's no more special than you or I. But Tiger is smart in that he works very hard on improving his competitive powers, because he worked out long ago that the secret to success in anything you do lies in your ability to keep finding ways to sharpen your competitive edge.
So get to work on sharpening yours; but remember that it's not so much a question of how, but more a question of now.
Lawrie Montague and David Milne - Pro Tour Golf College
The Professional Golf Tour Training College for Serious Amateur Golfers