How Staying Focused Leads to First Place Finishes

“Mental toughness is to physical as four is to one,” said the legendary coach Bob Knight. Coach Knight realized the BEST of the BEST are masters of the mental game. The opportunity to strengthen and develop our mindsets lies completely within our control.

Heading into last weekend’s US Open, golfer Dustin Johnson was considered one of the best players to have never won a major championship.

Dustin had come heartbreakingly close multiple times. In last year’s US Open, he was tied on the final hole before 3 putting. In 2010, he was leading again on the final day before a 2 shot penalty cost him.

Last Sunday at the US Open, Dustin found himself in a familiar position. He was in the lead of a major championship on the final day.

In the lead with only 7 holes to play, controversy would again come into play. Dustin was informed of a possible one-shot swing error penalty. The ruling however would not be determined until after the round.

Imagine that… Dustin would be forced to finish the round without knowing exactly what his score was.

Imagine how mentally taxing a situation like that that would be. Add in Dustin’s previous heartbreaks, and all of a sudden a mountainous hurdle lay before him.

However, on this Sunday Dustin would show his true mental toughness. He went on to shoot a 1 under (69) to win his first major championship.

Dustin’s name now belonged to a new list… “The BEST of the BEST.”

After the round, Dustin was asked how he was able to stay so mentally strong, “I knew I was swinging well, and I just kept thinking, it’s just me and the course. I’m playing against the course. I can’t control what anyone else does.”

That Sunday, it was Dustin versus Dustin. His only concern was playing the best round of golf he could. He knew everything else was out of his control.

Similarly, we all experience times in which a situation occurs that causes us to lose our focus. We are faced with the decision to run with the clutter or push right past it.

In these moments, it’s so much more self-gratifying to run with these negative emotions. Very little effort is required, and it solves the issues temporarily. But, in the long run, we all know that route never works.

Like Dustin, the difficult road requires standing up to adverse conditions, and refusing to trade clarity for distraction. Maintaining that focus and discipline is hard, but it’s the only way we can mentally remain in control.

The controllables are always within our control. We cannot control our competition, or the officiating, but we can control our approach.

Let’s focus in on living our best life one shot at a time…

Until next week, thanks for reading.

JP

Keep Chipping Away at your Greatness

Photocred: Erik S. Lesser (Seattle Times)