The 26-year-old golfer Rory McIlroy famously bombed the closing round of the 2011 U. S. Masters, taking him from a four-shot lead to 15th place. This mistake cost him the chance to win his first major tournament. He came back, however, at the following U.S. Open to win his first major title, breaking several records set by golf legends Jack Nicklaus and Tiger Woods.
I thought about this story of Rory when I recently experienced a terrible round of golf myself. As I reflected on my game, two questions consumed me:
•What went wrong and
•How can I prevent this from happening in the future?
I imagined Rory must have also focused on finding his teachable moments to help him move forward in order to go on and win many major tournaments following that disaster.
Researchers from Michigan State University during a Clinical Psychophysiology Lab categorized people into two categories when it comes to mistakes: those who have a fixed mind-set “I quit! I’ll never be good at this” and those who have a growth mind-set “Wow, what did I do wrong and how can I not do that again?” By analyzing our mistakes, we learn from them and make the failure work for us.
Understanding the latter, my golf-game growth strategy became getting to the driving range to practice and relaxing my mind to focus on one shot at a time. Well, it worked – the next round of golf I played was significantly improved!
Whenever we fail at something, we must accept our bruises and get busy working on our game. We must strive to develop our talent by acquiring knowledge, continuously practicing and having the right mental clarity to focus on just what is in front of us. Success doesn’t happen overnight, it comes with hard work and discipline.
So remember next time, whether a challenging golf course or obstacle in your career, this growth mind-set can alter your map and put you on the course toward greatness!