The Ultimate Path To Winning

An excerpt from a conversation . . .

Professional Athlete (P)

Myself (M)

P: Thank you for agreeing to meet with me.

M: Please tell me, what is the real reason you are here?

P: The immediate reason is that I was sent to you by one of my coaches. It was actually one of my old coaches. I received a call from him from out of the blue. And he insisted that I come see you.

M: I see. This tells me that your old coach thinks you should be here. What are your personal reasons for being here?

P: Straight from the gut?

M: Please.

P: I like outside-the-box people.

M: Please continue.

P: My old coach doesn’t believe in anyone or anything. He does everything by himself. He doesn’t trust anyone in this world. I guess you could say he’s very jaded :). If HE said I should see you, I felt very compelled to see who this person was.

M: You still haven’t told me about your own personal reasons.

P: I want to be a legend.

M: Why do you think I can help you become a legend?

P: Because of the discourses I read on your websites.

M: I see.

P: Can I ask you a question?

M: Certainly.

P: Have you ever seen me play?

M: I don’t watch television anymore. But I’ve seen you play in the past.

P: What did you think?

M: If I can speak plainly, it matters not. Tell me this. What is it that your heart truly desires?

P: To win. Again and again and again.

M: Why.

P: Because of the way this makes me feel.

M: We have reached a critical juncture in this meeting. I could go down the path of explaining the Truth about winning. Or I could assume that your perspective on winning is fundamentally opposed to mine, and respectfully conclude that we should not work together.

P: What’s wrong with winning?

M: It seems you are cleverly attempting to tempt me down the path of explanation.

P: What’s wrong with that?

M: If I were to determine that our sensibilities on winning were aligned, we would begin working together this very day. And it would give me great pleasure to explain in painstaking detail the Ultimate Way to Win. But I am virtually certain that our sensibilities are not aligned. And to move forward from such a place would lead only to debate and “convincing.” And I have no interest in such things.

P: Now I know why my old coach asked me to see you. From the way you are speaking, you are probably right to think that our sensibilities aren’t aligned. But I’m willing to learn.

M: Why are you willing to learn?

P: Why am I willing to learn?

M: Yes.

P: I don’t know how to answer this question. Can you please explain what you mean?

M: If you have a particular way of thinking about winning, why would you want to change this thinking? Why would you want to learn things that may be completely against what you have always believed?

P: I have an honest answer to this question.

M: I’m listening.

P: I have to admit that I don’t have any idea of what your perspective on winning is. But I feel a sense of certainty from you. Like you’re holding a secret that you’re concealing. And that you will only share it with the right person.

M: You listen to your instincts.

P: Always. And it might make me sound conceited, but I know you want to hear the truth so I will tell you. The other thing that makes me want to do this is that in my entire career, no one has ever threatened to turn me down before.

M: I am moved by your sincerity. I will outline for you my path to Ultimate Winning. And as I speak, I will watch you. Your mind will reveal itself through your eyes and your subtleties. And this will tell me if you are ready.

P: May I ask you questions as you speak?

M: Yes.

P: Okay, I’m ready.

M: I could tell from looking at you that there’s a question burning inside of you that you’ve been stopping yourself from asking.

P: How did you know this?

M: Please ask it. Because if you don’t, you will be thinking about it the entire time, and you will not hear a word I say.

P: Do you not like winning?

M: Why were you afraid of asking this?

P: Because I was afraid it would mark me as “cultural,” as you write in your discourses.

M: To answer your question, I will say this: I only seek permanent things. I have no interest in temporary ones.

P: That’s interesting. How do you know this? I mean, I’m not questioning you. What I mean is, how do you know that this is what your heart feels, instead of just what your head tells you? The reason I ask is that winning and pleasure and awards are something that is near and dear to us as human beings. It is very difficult to overcome these things.

M: I will tell you how I know this.

The eleventh hole is the signature hole at the Country Club of Charleston. It is perhaps the most diabolical Par 3 on the planet. The great Sam Snead made a thirteen on this hole. And Ben Hogan famously said that the country club of Charleston has 17 great holes. But the eleventh hole needs to be “dynamited.” When my older son was 16, he made a hole-in-one on that hole. I was standing next to him when he did it. In contrast to the people and the atmosphere around me, I did not feel the least bit excited. And when we walked up to the green, I felt compelled to say to him, “Nice job.” But it was forced. And the only reason I said it is because it was polite to do so.

The only way I would have become excited is if he did it twice in a row. Because then I would know that he had found a System. Anyone can talk a false game. But one cannot feel false feelings. The very fact that I did not feel a thing when my own son accomplished such a thing on such a famous hole is how I know that this is in my heart, rather than in my head. As I said, I seek only permanent things. I genuinely have no interest in temporary ones.

P: I have nothing else to say. Please tell me your path to ultimate winning.

M: If I am going to go on a journey, with myself or with someone, I am only going to go on a journey that leads to me to Permanence. That leads me to the Ultimate. One who seeks the path of “competition,” never arrives at the ultimate.

P: Then what is better than competing?

M: Winning without competing.

P: Holy crap. How does such a thing happen?

M: To train in such a way that winning just comes to you. And it comes to you because it has no choice but to come. While you don’t have the need to step even a single step in its direction. You bypass all the anxieties in the world. And live as a King.

P: I only have one question.

M: Yes?

P: When do we begin?