What does it take to be a winner?

Golfer Jordan Spieth yesterday won the 2015 Masters at Augusta, Georgia:


(read how he did it)….and this is what winners do! Leading last year as he went into the 4th and final round of the Masters, he finished as the runner-up. He must have been gutted  –  self-doubt could have set in and made winning in the future almost impossible. Again, this year, he led going into the 4th and final round…what happened last year could have broken him. The slightest wobble this year and that could have ended it again but he held his nerve, he must have said to himself again and again “I can do this, I can, I can” and that’s what he did…he did it!

Self-belief, drive (excuse the pun), tunnel vision, focus, not letting anything besides winning enter his mental field of vision, the belief that what was in front of him, the 2015 Green Jacket, was his, all those years of getting up early in the morning to practise, all those years when he was a kid and his friends were having fun but he practised and practised and practised, all those times he fell down but kept picking himself up, dusting himself off and getting on with it, the conviction that this was why he had done all of it, that this was his time to collect, that this was going to be his moment. He ‘double bogeyed’ the 17th on the 3rd round  –  ‘double bogeyed’!! That meant that he dropped 4 shots on ONE of the 18 holes and when you consider that he won by 4 shots (over 4 days, 4 rounds  –  72 holes!), it’s difficult to comprehend how he kept himself composed, how he didn’t ‘collapse’.

Winners, men like Jordan Spieth, they build a virtual concrete defence around themselves so that no negativity can get to them.

Of course, if Jordan had all that determination, that winning mentality, on its own, without the talent, he wouldn’t have won the Masters but he would still have been a success, a success in another field. I believe that if you can only have one, talent OR that winning mentality, it’s far better to have the winning mentality. In Jordan’s case, the talent is for golf (maybe he is talented in other areas, I don’t know) but a winning mentality can be applied in all areas of life. A talent for golf is area specific but a winning mentality applies generally.

I remember the legend, Alan Shearer (for those of you who don’t know, Alan was a footballer/soccer player, captain of Newcastle United, captain of England, he still holds the record for the most goals scored in the English Premier League), I remember him being interviewed and saying that he was not a ‘natural’ (he does himself a massive disservice!) but that he practised and practised and practised, trained and trained and trained and that that was what got him to the top. Shearer is one of those people who would have achieved in whatever field he had decided to commit himself because he is a winner.

Both Arnold Palmer and Gary Player (golf legends) have had the following attributed to them (when a fan told one of them that he was really lucky to be a successful pro golfer):

“It’s a funny thing, the more I practise, the luckier I get”.

So, there it is, it’s all down to us but, of course, that can be great news or it can be bad news.

For some, like Jordan Spieth, it’s great news because he has the required mental constitution but, for others, it’s dreadful news because what they want to do is to ask someone else to get them there, it’s dreadful news because they are their own worst enemy, it’s dreadful news because they are stopping themselves, not motivating themselves.

First, we have to decide what we want. We can’t ‘go for it’ if we don’t know what we want to go for!

Then, we need to be practical  –  it’s no good me setting myself the goal of becoming the most renowned brain surgeon in the world by next year if I haven’t studied medicine.

When we know what we want, we have to devise a plan. We must surround ourselves with positive, inspirational people (in retrospect, we should do that first), with people who believe in us, a mentor, surround ourselves with positive energy  –  we have to jettison negativity, people who bring us down.

We need that plan. No physical nor mental clutter. The desire must be burning. The determination must be unbreakable. We need to be able to ‘feel’ that thing we want before we even start. There must be a mental connection between the starting and the finished line. It’s my guess that Jordan Spieth ‘felt’ that Green Jacket enveloping him years ago. We need to feel that it’s ours and that ‘all’ we need to do is to go and get it. That Green Jacket was Jordan Spieth’s years ago and ‘all’ he had to do was to go and get it.

Well done, Jordan Spieth, and thanks for the inspiration!

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