- “You cannot have a positive life and a negative mind.” — Joyce Meyer
- “Whether you think you can or you think you can’t, you’re right.” — Henry Ford
- “Your future view will determine your future you.” — Daniel Burrus
Mind over matter, right? It’s one of the oldest philosophies around, repeated so often by so many business consultants that it’s routinely in the running for “Business Cliché of the Year.”
Here’s the thing about clichés, though: Their main ingredient is truth. That’s why they endure.
My new favorite example of the “mind over matter” cliché comes from the September 2012 issue of Golf Digest. In an article titled “Caddie Chatter,” authors Nick Seitz and Mark Long interviewed long-time PGA Tour caddie Bruce Edwards, who explained how powerful mindset can be in one of the most mentally challenging sports on the planet.
Even the most perfect of golf shots can be ruined by simple bad luck — a monstrous drive down the middle of the fairway that comes to a stop in a divot, for instance. In situations like these, mindset will separate champions from also-rans. Edwards, who caddied for golf legends Tom Watson and Greg Norman in their heydays, offered a perfect anecdote to explain why.
“Let’s say you’re three under (par) for the day but you drive it into a divot on (the 16th hole),” Edwards told co-author Mark Long. “Norman would look at me and say, ‘Bruce, can you believe my bad luck?’ Tom would look at the ball, look at the divot, and say, ‘Bruce, watch this!’”
Not coincidentally, Watson won eight major championships during his PGA career. Norman won two.
“There are people who are constantly cursing their luck, and there are people who will play the ball as best they can from wherever it lies and see it as a challenge,” Pulitzer Prize-winning New York Times columnist Thomas Friedman writes in Thank You for Being Late: An Optimist’s Guide to Thriving in the Age of Accelerations. “They know that the one thing they can control is not the bounce of the ball but their own attitude toward hitting it. In that context, self-confidence and optimism are powers unto themselves.”
The simple version is this: Success is about taking the next step, not about worrying about the last one. You can’t make the divot go away.
But you can say, “Watch this!”