As an avid golfer I tend to draw life lessons from golf, as some of you will have noticed over the years. In fact, some may argue, my life revolves around golf. Perhaps that is why my winters tend to be long, drawn out affairs because of the lack of golf. The Masters seems to be the start to my season of hope and recovery. It is the first “major” of the year. It heralds the beginning of my golf season. And as such my course has opened for the year, although it is still brown and dusty. I have not been out but have been to the driving range to see whether I actually have any muscle memory left.
For the record I did not watch all of the Masters. I do record it and then can watch the bits and pieces at my own pace. However I did switch on the TV on Sunday just to see where play was at. Earlier it had appeared that it would be another run away win by Jordan Spieth and as much as I like the guy I prefer to watch tournaments that are close and make for some excitement. I switched on just in time to watch Spieth have a meltdown. At the start of the back nine he was up by four strokes. The he bogeyed the tenth hole and the eleventh hole. Disaster struck on the par 3 twelfth. He had a quadruple bogey. In a tournament that he had led for seven consecutive rounds, going back to the start of last year’s Masters, he was suddenly four strokes behind. As much as he tried he could not regain the lead and ended up tied for second.
In the post-game festivities, where he had to stick around to put the green jacket on the winner, he looked shell shocked. His voice cracked in an interview viewed by millions around the world, viewers that were shocked by the turn of events. As someone suggested to me he was probably still angry when he deposited his cheque for $880,000, prize money for second place. My thought being that all my problems would go away if I could only get that kind of cash for four days of golf on a pristine golf course. Oh well, I can dream.
For Spieth it is not about the money. Monday morning I listened to a talk show that was focusing on the recovery from failure that Spieth would need to go through. All of us have failures in life. The list could be, and probably is, endless. Financial failures. Relational failures. Personal failures. Employment failures. Family failures. Health failures. And more. These can be quite significant. Other times it is relatively minor failures that seem to destroy our very being. We set goals, sometimes unrealistic, that we find difficult to meet. Some of us have a tendency to become consumed by failure. And when that happens we lose out on the opportunities of the future. We are so intent of looking in the rear view mirror that we run into obstacles that crop up in front of us.
So it needs to be a learning process, to educate and get better. We must be willing to dust ourselves off, stand up, and try again. Use the understanding and knowledge of the failure to build a foundation from which you can grow and flourish and maintain perspective. The key is not to be spooked by failure but rather to have a willingness to fail again, because if we don’t take risks, if we don’t step outside of our comfort zone, we will not become better. And, most important of all, forgive ourselves for the failure. Without forgiveness we will continue to beat ourselves up which inevitably will lead to more failures. Make it a good one.
“Forget past mistakes and forget failures. Forget everything except what you are going to do now and do it.” William J. Durant