Success or Disappointment?

If you want to have more success in golf, it is important to inoculate your mind to be free of disappointment. The dictionary defines disappoint as "to fail to meet the expectation or hope of".

Since it is impossible to hit a good shot every time and golf courses are designed to challenge even the best golfers, how does a golfer keep from becoming disappointed without lowering his or her expectations?

It is done by changing your mindset and type of goals. The vast majority of golfers judge themselves by the scores they shoot. How often do you play a round of golf and feel totally satisfied that you shot the lowest score possible that day for your level of play?

More than likely, you probably felt you could have shot a lower score if only your putt didn't lip out or hit a foot mark, the wind didn't cause your ball to land in the bunker or the water, your perfect shot down the middle of the fairway didn't land in a divot, et cetera. So you went home disappointed because your score didn't reflect what could have been.

What is even worse is that you were disappointed with some of your shots and putts during that round. We all know that we play at our best when we feel good about ourselves.

The only way to get out of the trap of trying to play well when you are disappointed is to change your outcome goal of scoring and become totally process oriented.

An excellent definition of success is "the progressive realization of a worthwhile goal". If your goal is to learn and improve from the feedback you receive each time you hit, chip or putt the ball, you can eliminate the concept of disappointment from your mindset.

Let's narrow our discussion and focus solely on your attitude after each shot you take during a round of golf. I'll make a friendly wager that after a good shot, you tend to feel good and after a bad shot, you tend to feel bad. I'll make another friendly wager that when you make a good shot and feel good, your chances of making another good shot are higher than when you feel bad about yourself or your last shot. Do I have any takers on these bets?

Now, let me ask you another question. Is it easier to control the outcome every time you step up to the ball or to control your attitude before and after each golf shot you take? The obvious answer is that it should be easier to control your attitude since it is impossible for even Tiger Woods to make all of his shots.

Since a good attitude increases the probability of making good shots, the logical conclusion is that it is much more productive to focus on the process of always maintaining a good attitude than to focus on the outcome of your shots, which you cannot control.

If you take two golfers of equal talent, I'll make you another friendly wager that the one who has and maintains the better attitude will win many more times than he will lose to the other golfer who allows himself to be disappointed by his outcomes.

Now, I'll make one last wager with you. No matter what your talent level is, if you train your mind to focus on improving your attitude no matter what happens when you hit the ball, your scores will fall and you will not be disappointed.


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