We often strive to “stay the same.” But the truth is, we are either growing or dying. Same can be said for swinging a golf club, playing a musical instrument or speaking a second language. If we are not striving to do a thing better than the day before, we are not just “staying the same”, we are in fact getting worst! This lesson from my most recent book, Mentored by the King, will shed further insight into the Pros Secret to being consistently better. Enjoy!
Lesson 30: Don’t Dwell on Yesterday’s News
A tournament win is a benchmark in a Tour professional’s career. It’s also likely to be a greatly cherished memory, and I’ve come to notice how many champions memorialize their great feats by designating a room in their home for the trophies and memories. Some outsiders looking in would consider them to be shrines to their great achievements.
I’ve also noticed how many athletes, after reaching the pinnacle, don’t seem to produce the same results after their big victory. In fact, after big wins, there have been many times when very successful golfers slid into a slump and sometimes even disappeared from the leader board, never to be seen again.
How does this happen? What is the difference between the one-hit wonder and the few great ones who keep winning? And why don’t some continue in their winning ways?
I was about to find out.
No Room in the Inn
A short time after having been hired as the director of Arnold Palmer’s Golf Academy, I was invited to the Palmers’ home for dinner. I arrived a few minutes early that evening, and Mrs. Palmer greeted me at the door.
“Arnie is still getting ready, Brad,” she told me. “He will be down shortly.”
Knowing that she was busy preparing dinner and not wanting to be a bother, I asked if it would be all right for me to take a self-guided tour of the “trophy room.” With Arnold Palmer’s ninety-two lifetime Tour wins, I thought his trophy room must be a sight to see.
“Oh, I’m sorry, Brad,” she replied, “we don’t have such a room.”
I was puzzled but dropped the subject. Later that evening, however, during dinner conversation, my curiosity got the best of me. “Mr. Palmer,” I began, “ninety-two Tour wins?—??that’s a lot of hardware! So how come you have no trophy display?”
Arnie put down his fork, looked me straight in the eye, and said, quite excitedly, “For what? That’s yesterday’s news!” After a brief pause and that characteristic confident grin of his, he went on to explain.
Nostalgia is a seductive liar. ~American diplomat George W. Ball
“Don’t take me wrong, Brad, I have enjoyed every victory and greatly cherish the memories. We’ve even celebrated a little bit after each one. But come Monday morning of the next week, I’m no different than the man who missed the cut last week. In fact, he is probably hungrier than I am. So if I am to be competitively ready, I must get my thoughts off yesterday and deal with today. There will be a day when I can take the time to look back. But as long as I want to stay competitive, I must never stop and marvel at what I have accomplished?—??only forward to my next challenge at hand.”
As long as I want to stay competitive, I must never stop and marvel at what I have accomplished — ?only forward to my next challenge at hand.
~ Arnold Palmer
There are better things ahead than any we leave behind.
~Oxford professor and author , C. S. Lewis
What might be stopping you in your game, business or life from forging forward to the next challenge and conquest?
When I was a young competitive player I can remember times when I would be driving it so poorly that I would go and take a lesson from my coach, get the advice on how to improve and then practice until I improved my driving. The next week I would drive it well and then my putting would go off. It always seemed like I was chasing my tail, having one part good and another part off. I worked under the operendo of “if it ain’t broke then don’t fix it.”This went on until I eventually learned how to focus daily on managing my core foundational feelings that allowed for me to be ready to perform with every club in the bag.
Remaining focused on the process of being the best you can be today, each and every day is not easy. But it’s the key difference maker between ordinary and extraordinary performers, businesses and relationships. Resting on your success of yesterday can take you right out of business tomorrow, under that very same premise that “anything living is either growing or dying but never staying the same”.
What might you consider thinking, feeling and doing differently with your game, such as my mentor, Arnold Palmer did with Yesterdays News?