Adjust Your Attitude
Somewhere in ancient India, there was a king whose feet were very sensitive. He complained constantly about the kingdom’s roads, which were rough and rocky. Finally, the king decided he would have all the roads covered with leather, so that he could walk on leather anywhere he wanted to go and his feet would be comfortable.
He invited the best craftsmen in the land to bid on this formidable project. One replied, “I can do the job, but it will cost all that is in the kingdom’s treasury.” Another said, “I can cover the roads with leather for half of what is in the treasury.” Then an old woman came to the king and said, “I can do the job for 10 rupees. I will just strap a piece of leather under each of your feet, and you will be walking on leather wherever you go.”
The point of this story is that it is easier to adjust your attitude than to make the situation be the way you want it to be. When things are not the way we would like them to be, most people have a tendency to complain. This is certainly true for golfers. “It’s too windy.” “It’s too cold.” “The greens are too bumpy.” “The rough is too deep.” “The fairways are too narrow.” And so on.
Jack Nicklaus said that at many tournaments he felt he only had to beat a few of his fellow competitors. When he would hear players complain about conditions, he would count them out, one by one, thinking to himself, “That guy will not be in contention.” “This guy is another one I don’t have to worry about.” By the time the tournament started, he felt that not many of the golfers there had a chance to beat him.
Complaining, wanting all the conditions to be just the way you would like them, does not get you anywhere. In fact, you are just distracting yourself from the task at hand. Instead of complaining, recognize that everyone has to play the same course. Yes, there are times when the morning groups have bad weather and it clears for the player teeing off in the afternoon, or vice versa. So what? Golf and life are not always fair on a day-to-day basis. But those good and bad breaks even out over the long run.
Learn to play a variety of conditions. Adapt your attitude, your state of mind, to whatever you encounter. Instead of complaining about course conditions, take Vijay Singh’s attitude. When asked by a reporter if the rain that day would bother him, Vijay said, “Only if it’s just raining on me.”