I’m spending my Sunday morning glued to the television watching the final round of The Open being played at Carnoustie Golf Club in Scotland. One of golf’s four major championships, The Open was being played for the 147th time, by far the most of any other golf tournament.
A young American golfer name Xander Schauffele is about to hit one of the biggest shots in his young career on the 17th hole. He trails the leader by one shot and this upcoming play is critical for him. He’s hitting from where the spectators were standing and in the background you can hear a child crying, likely protesting the fact she’s been out on the golf course for five hours. One of the announcers makes a comment about it, yet Schauffele seems unaware of it. That is, until he’s about to swing and the child makes an even louder cry that cuts through the silence like a hot knife through butter. Schauffele steps away from his ball, glances in the direction of the mother and child and smiles. In fact, you can see him almost chuckle. He proceeds to start his routine all over again, hits a nice shot and continues to play the hole. This 24-year old dealt with this situation far more graciously than most players many years his senior (and likely even me if I was in that position!).
Schauffele could have let this distraction affect him negatively; could have used it as an excuse for a poor shot. He could have lost his temper and the moment at hand. He could have attached blame. Rather, he smiled, chuckled, re-started his process, and played on. It’s a great lesson for business and life.
We all get distracted and diverted by things we can’t control. It’s very easy to attach blame and conceive excuses to others for our failures – the government, our employees, our clients; the weather, the bank, our family, the alarm clock, or that crying child. You don’t have to spend too much time on Facebook or other social media to find individual op-eds on the woe created by someone else. The reality is, we are all responsible for our own thoughts, actions, and behaviors, and no other distraction should have that kind of control over us.
The next time you find yourself angry or bitter over a bit of bad fortune, remember you have control over the next thing you think about and do. If a 24-year old professional golfer can quickly forgive a loud child and her mother for interrupting his concentration on the biggest stage of his career, we should be able to quickly regroup, recover, and play through our own distractions.
Quote of the Week:
”Real knowledge is to know the extent of one’s ignorance.”
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