Fear of failure is a waste

Fear of failure is a waste. It’s a waste of energy and a waste of time. Why? Because the absolute worst thing that can happen to you on the golf course is a bad score. Not good but not that bad either.

If you play badly you’re not going to be sacked by your golf club and your dog will still love you. Golfers aren’t afraid of bad scores, they’re more worried about what others will think and possibly getting some negative feedback.

Here’s the kicker.

To avoid criticism we choose to play safe. We hesitate to play in a way that excites us or choosing a swing that feels really good. We decide to accept the status quo and follow the pack. But this doesn’t work.

I received a letter from Chris this week. She’s a great player with a dodgy wrist (a childhood accident). She wrote complaining about poor form and lack of consistency. Turns out that she has been fiddling with her grip. Instead of sticking with her funky grip to accommodate a damaged wrist, she changed it to look like the rest of the crowd and avoid comments.

Result?

Bad and boring golf.

No one likes to play badly. Especially me. But to play remarkable golf you have a decision to make.

You have to be prepared to play golf your way. This means that you have to keep playing not matter what the criticism.

When you hear, “your swing was too quick, you need to slow down”, you can’t go into your shell and start swinging slowly and playing safely. You’ve got to ignore the advice (criticism), grit your teeth and keep trucking.

I don’t like receiving criticism. I hate it. I can blast ten straight drives down the middle and then miss one. Many times a playing partner will say something like, “you rushed it and you swung too quickly”. It drives me crazy. Although well meaning, it’s still criticism. If I’m not careful it could be enough to ruin my free flowing game.

But it’s not enough. I have learned to ignore it. I’ve learned that my game is best for me. I don’t play safely and this mindset has allowed me to break free and play the best golf of my life. I now believe that receiving some criticism means that what I’m doing is good – that I’m playing in a way that’s worth commenting on.

If I played safely and followed the status quo I probably wouldn’t receive too much criticism. But I also wouldn’t experience remarkable golf.

The challenge you face when you play your next game (and all of them) is this;

  1. Are you prepared to accept criticism when you play your way? And when you’re ready to do this the next question you’ve got to ask is this…
  2. How are you going to play that will be worthy of comment?

Go for it!

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11 Comments

  • ivan hughes

    Reply Reply January 30, 2009

    great advise!! ive never thort of it that way.and i can relate to wat u are saying.the worst part is when people comment on my game it drives me crazy and usually end up playing safe and boring golf and i end up on the boggy train.im glad i found this website!! thank you very much.

  • Cameron

    Reply Reply February 3, 2009

    Good work Ivan! Welcome aboard.

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