So many things in life are down to chance. Some people will tell you that everything is – we have no control over our future (those people still look before crossing the road though…). But regardless of what you believe about fate and destiny and God and all that philosophical stuff, there are without a doubt certain things that we have no control over.
Golfers know that more than anyone. When you spend months doing the right things and then don’t seem able to put one good round together, or the first drive you stripe down the middle of the fairway finds a divot, or you get the wrong side of the draw in every single big tournament in the summer. They aren’t the only times a golfer can wonder why they chose a sport where there are so many factors that influence the result and only a small portion of those are the ones they can actually do anything about. At the end of a football season, the team who performed best will win the league. And the teams that performed worst will go down (we all know Newcastle deserved to stay up). In tennis, whatever external factors affecting the match should have the same effect on your opponent too. And you only have to beat one person at a time… not 50, or a 100, or 200. I’m not saying other sports are easier (but lets be honest can golf get any harder), but I personally think the outcome of most other sports depends a lot less on factors outside of the players’ control.
But, here’s the thing. Too many golfers use exactly that as an excuse not to control the things they can control. So the person who won could get on all the par 5s in two? Go work out how you can hit the ball 20 yards further. The selectors picked somebody for a team ahead of you? Make sure you get in through the automatic spots. (Trust me, it’s less stressful). Nobody has told you which putting skills tests to do? Go and find them out for yourself. Make up your own. Not everybody who pretends to be an expert is actually an expert; there are things you can figure out by yourself.
Maybe it’s because when we’re younger, we get things handed to us. I’ve been incredibly lucky with all the support I’ve received over the years from all kinds of sources, but that isn’t an automatic formula for success. Some people have to find that support themselves much earlier, and even if you do have it there comes a time when you realize that there’s certain steps you have to take on your own. You can’t just sit around and wait for the people or the money or the coaches or the success to come to you, and you can’t expect all the people that support you to automatically know what you need from them. You have to take time to figure out what works for you and what other people can give you. Build relationships, and trust, and recognize when you need to hold on tight to someone or something. But don’t be afraid of moving on from things. Don’t be afraid of looking for more. (You might lose a few people, but turns out they aren’t meant to be part of your future anyway…)
Anyone can say they want to be the best in the world, but you can’t expect that to come along and hit you if you keep doing the same things everyone else is doing. There’s no point having goals if you don’t have a plan. If you want success, in anything, step up and find a way to get it. Be brave; take risks; ask questions. Work hard. Stop waiting.