The journey to your goal is going to be full of challenges and failures along the way. In a game as difficult as golf, there will always be more failures than successes.
Your approach to these challenges and failures is also known as your mindset for golf, and it’s a huge factor in your overall success. The good news is that your mindset for golf isn’t fixed, and we can continually work on it and develop the growth mindset of a champion.
How do you view failure?
Do you see it as an indication that you are not good enough or that it’s a way to learn how to be better?
Do you play with fear of making mistakes because of what failure would say about you to others?
The studies of Professor Carol Dweck at Stanford University prove how mindset affects learning and skill development. She concludes that people who exhibit more of what she calls a “growth mindset” to learning, viewing failure as a way to learn most effectively, and seeing challenges as a positive, are more successful in the long-term. The opposite of a growth mindset is called a fixed mindset which describes a person who sees their ability as fixed and hence they are less concerned about the learning and more concerned about the result as it speaks to how good they are. In the context of golf, I call these two different mindsets and types of golfers, Mastery and Ego Golfers.
Michael Jordan famously said: “I’ve missed more than 9,000 shots in my career. I’ve lost almost 300 games. Twenty-six times I’ve been trusted to take the game-winning shot and missed. I’ve failed over and over and over again in my life. And that is why I succeed.”
Become A Mastery Golfer
By becoming more of a mastery golfer and changing your perspective on failure, not only will you be able to learn more from every round and practice session, but by being less afraid of it, you’ll play with more freedom. Ego golfers play with more fear and shy away from challenges because they might be shown up or appear weak. Mastery golfers are more comfortable being in positions where they might fail and they reap the benefits of what was learned from it. Mastery golfers are continually learning, failing, refining and persevering. They are curious, not judgemental.
At the end of each round or each day, ask yourself some questions that foster a growth mindset and write them in your “Performance Journal”. After highlighting all the positives of your round, reflect on what you failed at and what you learned from it, without judgment of your ability. Reframe failure as something that is acceptable and in fact required for growth. Every day you do this, you will learn more and develop the growth mindset for golf that is necessary for becoming your best.