How sport can teach someone to deal with life’s ups and downs by developing a winning mentality and a more positive frame of mind.
Very rarely in life is everything simple. Just as things are going great, life has a cruel way of dashing hopes and upsetting carefully formed plans. Whether it is to do with family life, job security, illness or simply ruining a good score on the golf course, sometimes things go wrong.
At that point it is being able to adopt a positive attitude that can make the difference between defeat and victory. For many it is not natural to relish the challenge of fighting back, but it is definitely a form of behaviour that can be learned. The seed of success in many champions has been sewed at the time of maximum dejection. Tell Gary Player he was four down with five to play and the adrenaline would immediately start to flow.
Body Language When the Going Gets Tough
Some people naturally want to fight their way out of trouble, others have to learn a winning frame of mind. For those who struggle the first thing to do is control body language. Irrespective of whether it’s to do with golf, or life in general, when things go wrong it can drain a person of energy.
Look at the body language of a second class sportsman taking a beating – shoulders slump, the head drops, we can almost see the negative thoughts swamping the brain. To start the comeback these physical signs have to be controlled.
- Keep the head up
- Straighten the shoulders
- Walk tall
- Take deep breaths (and try to smile)
How to Make a Come Back
When things start going wrong there has to be a ‘timeout’ when problems can be accurately analysed. It may not be your fault that the going has got tough, luck cruelly plays its part sometimes. But as the great Bobby Jones once said, “you have to learn to play the ball as it lies”. Whatever situation you find yourself in it’s probably your fault and you have a responsibility to make the best of a bad job and turn things around.
It is the acceptance that problems do exist, and the commitment to positively do something about them, that is the second step to forming a winning plan. Most golfers fail at this point blaming conditions, injury, or their last lesson. The list is endless. But rather than deliberating on the past, a winning frame of mind embraces the effort to follow a positive plan: there must be a way out of this trouble — what can I do to make the situation better?
Advice, Planning and Golf Lessons
No matter what situation someone faces — the thickest rough on the course, bankruptcy, job loss, illness – there are two ways of devising a plan to get out of trouble. The plan can be your own or you can rely on an expert or trusted friend. It is not generosity alone that makes PGA pros pay their caddies so much money — they earn it with advice when things go wrong.
A golf professional or good caddie can certainly help sort out a golf swing. A financial adviser can possibly help out with the family budget. A doctor can obviously advise on health matters. Find an expert you trust and follow their advice. It may not be what you want to hear but it is probably what is right for you to do. Effort sometimes requires pain. Always remember to carry out a plan with positive body language. Keep that head up!
Positive Frame of Mind and Patience
The initial effort to continue with a positive frame of mind is often the hardest, but without immediate results it is then easy to capitulate and throw in the towel. To turn a situation around it often takes time. In golfing terms it is unlikely a golfer will birdie the next hole after dropping two shots on the previous. Patience at this point is vital.
Whatever your new plan is, whether it is to eat more healthy food, swing the club better, look for a new job; good results do not happen overnight. The courage to keep going when things are difficult is perhaps the single most important characteristic of a winner. It is very true that the tough do get going when the going gets tough.