By Jim Whitt
Golf looks like an easy game when you watch the pros on television. The problem starts when you go to the golf course and discover you’re not a pro.
Rory McIlroy shared two words with the television audience after he won the British Open that all of us can use to help us in golf, life and business. The two words are spot and process.
I’m paraphrasing but McIlroy said that he focused on his process and not the results. This is exactly the opposite of what most of us have been taught. We have been conditioned to focus on the results.
Every golfer in the Open wanted the same result — to win. But winning is a byproduct of process. Successful golfers have a process they rigidly adhere to that they know will give them the best result. The more they deviate from that process the less likely they are to play at level that enables them to win.
Abraham Maslow is most remembered for his hierarchy of needs. The highest of those needs is self-actualization which simply put is the need to fulfill your own unique potential.
Maslow believed the self-actualizing individual exhibited the following characteristics:
- Being independent of others’ opinions.
- Being detached from the outcome.
- Having no investment in power or control over others.
If you want to fulfill your potential you have to learn to forget about other people’s opinions. You have to do what you know you need to do. What other people think you should do is irrelevant.
Being detached from the outcome is another way of saying that you have to focus on the process and not the results. Find a process that will give you the best result and stick with it. I have to remind myself that I’m in the efforts business and God’s in the results business.
If you believe you have control over any human being other than yourself you’ve never had children. Focus on controlling what you can control — your thoughts and your actions. That’s a full time job.
That brings me to the word spot. McIlroy said that when he was putting he picked a spot and simply tried to roll the ball over that spot instead of focusing on making the put. The idea being that if he rolled the ball over the spot the results would take care of themselves. Again, this is counter to what we have been taught.
When McIlroy said spot I thought of the word purpose. I’ve found the self-actualizing characteristics to be byproducts of being on purpose.
Your purpose in life is the spot over which you should be rolling your ball. For example, my purpose in life is to help people reach their full potential. I have to focus on that spot and be detached from the outcome. I can’t control the results — I can only control my actions. If I stay focused on my purpose and remain detached from the outcome, the results take care of themselves.
When we are on purpose we are intrinsically motivated, so we are less susceptible to responding to the extrinsic stimuli of reward and punishment that appeal to our needs and fears. When we focus on needs and fears we start worrying about the results. If a golfer starts thinking about winning (reward) or if he’s afraid he won’t make the cut (punishment) he loses focus of the task at hand. He veers from his process and loses focus of the spot. Focusing on the results actually results in bad results.
If you want to win in life and business you have to know what your spot (purpose) is and have a process that enables you to fulfill your own unique. Fulfilling your own unique potential is a byproduct of fulfilling your purpose in life.
Two little words can make a big difference. Focus on your spot and stay engaged in the process. I guarantee you’ll like the results.
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