Marginal gains. Or the big picture?Baby steps. Or a running jump?Microscopic analysis. Or let it happen?
I could finish this post right here and I think I’d have made my point. At least in my head anyway… because it’s all the same question really, objectively, but it’s one I can go round and round in circles with. This 3 and a half hour flight isn’t looking like it’s going to be long enough…
The obvious answer is you do both. Like most things, it’s a delicate balancing act between both sides. You break your ultimate goal down into smaller, more achievable targets and then sit back and enjoy the success when they all fall together. Maybe it is that simple and I’m just letting my brain get in the way of the process. Maybe.
But the more I think about it the more I think there is a reason to question it. I think it’s dangerous to make the assumption that getting to a certain level means you have, by default, learnt to take care of all of the basics. To a certain extent I love the theory of the (now infamous) one percents. But if you give all of your attention to those, you might lose sight of a huge gain somewhere else. There could be a ten percent improvement floating just beyond your peripheral vision, waiting to launch you forward into the heady heights of success you always wanted. But you’re so busy trying to improve you don’t see it. Like the pilots who didn’t notice the fuel gauge making warning sounds and flashes because they were preoccupied with a hazard light they’d never seen before. Or the surgeons who didn’t notice their patient was about to die from lack of oxygen because they were busy arguing about why she wasn’t responding in the standard way to a standard procedure.
From another angle: what if the one percents you’re gaining are actually one percents you’re losing from elsewhere? What if you commit so much to improving that you forget to do the things you were doing so well before? Finding your weaknesses and recognising your strengths. Being aware that they change.
And then, maybe over analysis is your worst possible option. Just get on with it. Trust the process. Hard work pays off. Your time will come. Cliché after cliché. Patience is one of the most underrated virtues on the planet – not just in golf. It’s vital to success. But so are the values of questioning, and learning, and self-awareness. If you’re not where you want to be, surely you have to look at what it takes to get there. What you need to do differently. Is there a time-frame for the improvements you want to see? Should there be? How many external factors should you allow for?
Having the right people around you is quite possibly the answer to all of this. Like it is for most things. But for now, it’s a concept that intrigues me… and drives me crazy. And if I really think about it, I probably wouldn’t want it any other way.