Oswald Letter

Life is just that way sometimes

Woman GolfingI’m not much of a golfer. In fact, I’m no golfer at all. But my youngest son has caught golf fever and, as a result, I got to watch the final round of the British Open on television. The golf didn’t interest me as much as the mental aspects of what transpired.

If you didn’t see it, Adam Scott had a four stroke lead with four holes to play. He had just birdied hole number 14 to extend his lead and had been playing brilliantly all day. He looked to have the victory in hand.

But, not so fast. Scott then bogied the 15th hole and the second place player, Ernie Els, birdied the 18th. Suddenly, Scott’s lead was just two shots with three holes left to play.

But Els was finished and couldn’t do anything to catch up. Scott just needed to play par golf and he would win his first major championship. But that, apparently, is easier said than done. He bogied 16 and his lead was down to one stroke. The announcers began to mention this might be one of the greatest collapses in golf history.

The thing is, watching Scott, you didn’t see him coming unraveled. He was focused and continued to play aggressively. He didn’t appear to be tentative or nervous. He looked like the model of confidence as he played the final holes.

But that confidence didn’t matter because he was now struggling and bogied 17 for his third bogey in a row. Els was now tied with Scott and he’s been in the clubhouse for the last 15 minutes.

So, Scott tees off on the 18th hole knowing he must par the hole to maintain the tie and force a playoff. What does he do? He hits it directly into a fairway bunker. Somehow he recovers and has an opportunity to putt in for a par to preserve the tie and the playoff. Instead his missed the putt by a fraction of an inch and lost the match.

I watched Adam Scott standing on the 18th green after missing that putt and a chance at his first ever major championship. I was curious how he’d react. He didn’t curse. He didn’t throw a club. He didn’t pout. He simply shook his and smiled.

You see, life’s just that way sometimes. You’re doing everything right. You’re knocking the ball right down the middle of the fairway and everything is going your way. Then, all of the sudden, your luck changes and it seems you can’t do anything right. You haven’t changed what you’re doing but the outcome sure changes.

I don’t know about you, but I’ve had those moments at work. One minute you’re killing it and the next you can’t do anything right. What’s changed? You can’t figure it out. It just happens. And when it does, you can beat yourself up and assume you’ve forgotten everything you know about your job. You can question your abilities and lose confidence.

Or you can be like Adam Scott and figure that life’s just that way sometimes. You need to come back tomorrow and keep on playing. You work on the things you can improve on and keep on swinging. If you take yourself out of the game, you’ll never win. Instead you need to stay in the game, make some adjustments, and see if the results change.

Let me be clear. It’s not that you accept less than your best or don’t drive for the win. It’s that you don’t let the failure crush you. If you wallow in self pity, you’ll take on a defeatist’s attitude and never win. You learn from the mistakes and allow that experience to help you, ultimately, succeed.

My guess is that Adam Scott will have a club in his hand today as he works to improve his game. You see, there are more tournaments for him to win and his best chance at success is to keep working. He was leading a major championship with just two holes to play. Not many people in this world can say that. Instead of thinking about the one that got away, he needs to focus on just how close he IS to winning the big one.

You need to do the same when things don’t go your way at work. Think about just how close you are and keep on swinging!

2 thoughts on “Life is just that way sometimes”

  1. Great article, Dan. Most of us are often too self-critical and need to be kinder to ourselves.

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