In case you happened to be visiting another planet for the past 4 days, or if you’re just not the type to keep up with big golf events, the 2011 Masters tournament was completed yesterday afternoon. Always one to think deeply about every situation ( ), I wanted to discuss some life lessons that can be learned from this year’s tournament…
1. Results get Remembered – I feel bad for Rory McIlroy. After 54 holes (3 rounds) of the tournament, he had a 4 stroke lead and looked dominant. He seemed to be having fun, looked very comfortable – all appeared to be in order. But, when it came time to seal the deal on Sunday, his game seemed to vanish. Short putts suddenly became nearly impossible to make. Fairways were elusive. After reaching 12 under par through the first 3 days, Rory shot an 8 over 80 on the final day, finishing well back in the pack.
Sadly for Rory, several years from now, when the 2011 Masters is discussed, he’ll rarely be talked about. People will talk about the winner – Charl Schwartzel (who?).
The same can apply to all of our daily lives, and our financial endeavors. For whatever reason, we live in a results driven society. Giving good effort usually isn’t good enough. We have to give good effort, and also get good results. Keep this in mind the next time you are tackling a big project at work. Sure, it feels great to give solid effort when working toward a goal. But the only thing your boss will remember come annual review time is the results you were able to achieve.
2. You Cannot Rely Solely on Your Reputation – In years past, essentially any person that was unlucky enough to find them self on a leader board along with Tiger Woods would immediately be vaporized, never to be heard from again. If Tiger Woods was in contention to win a golf tournament come Sunday, he rarely lost. No one seemed seemed to be able to put up a fight.
When Tiger began making a charge early in the 4th round of this years Masters, he looked like the Tiger of old. The funny thing was, the other competitors didn’t really feel like playing along. As strong as Tiger’s charge was, there were several other golfers who made strong charges of their own in an attempt to fill the top spot on the leader board that was quickly being vacated by Rory McIlroy.
In years past, Tiger was able to perform to a level that backed up his reputation. Performance led to reputation. Reputation then led to performance (because his reputation alone scared everyone else off, lessening the need for stellar performance). The problem with relying solely on your reputation is that if you don’t continue to support it with strong performance, it will quickly fade away. My advice is to continue to focus on delivering performance, and let the reputation take care of itself. Don’t rely on your reputation to the point that you become lazy.
3. Arrive at the Finish Line No Matter What – Most golfers teeing off on Sunday probably thought it was an extreme long shot for them to win the tournament, with the sole leader of the tournament holding a 4 shot lead, and seemingly playing so well. But the thing that golfers understand that the rest of us would be very wise to incorporate into our daily lives is this – golfers realize that train wrecks will happen eventually, and those that benefit are the ones who just kept chugging along, even when it seems like they are out of it.
Perhaps in your current job you’re not motivated to work hard because there are seemingly too many people ahead of you for you to ever get that promotion. But just remember, somebody will do something stupid or crazy. Or something major will happen that will eliminate several of those ahead of you (maybe they’ll all leave for another company). If you just keep your head down and keep delivering good performances (see above), eventually the train wreck will occur and you’ll be there to fill the void. Not to say that you should wish misfortune upon others. But let’s face it, in golf as in life, there is always plenty of misfortune. There are winners and losers in many situations. That’s just the way it is.
4. Look Around and Enjoy the Ride – Perhaps the best advice to be taken away from the 2011 edition of the Masters can best be summed up by a story. Rickie Fowler, 2nd year PGA Tour player shared the following story upon completing his 2nd round on Friday (I paraphrase):
I was talking to Jason Day on the 18th green right before he hit his putt. I was like, man, just look around. This is pretty cool.
Granted, the career of a PGA Tour golfer is much cooler than mine, but that is advice is something we could all put to use often. Life seems to be getting faster paced all the time. Even our leisure time gets rushed (I like to try and play an 18 hole round of golf in under 3 hours). I made a conscious effort the past 2 days to take at least a few moments to slow down, take in my surroundings, and appreciate the life I am living. It’s seems simple, but if you just give it a try, you can almost feel your mind being pulled in 15 different directions. Learn to take at least a couple moment’s each day to pause and be thankful for where you are, what you are doing, and what you have. It’ll be refreshing.