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Its been said that art imitates life. But golf, an art form within itself, equally imitates life. If you subscribe to this theory, even in part, it may explain why so many people remain attracted to this often frustrating game. After all, the logical route would be to move onto something else where the odds of success are enhanced versus accepting defeat or for that matter humiliation, time after time.
Padraig Harrington, a three time major title holder offered some insight into his recent play but also his constant occupation towards improvement. It provides an indirect testimonial to the addictive nature of the game and the constant pursuit in life itself.
“When you win something, especially when you have success, I see that as a reason to stop and start changing things to get better,” he began. “I'm not trying to play as well as I played last year to win the two majors. I'm trying to play better than that.” Conventional wisdom implies if it isn’t broken then don’t fix it, however the Irishman doesn’t subscribe to that theory, at least not entirely.
“When you win something -- a lot of players will do this, and I've seen it. You take stock and all of a sudden you use it as a platform to get better, to move forward,” he said, which implies the new found success breeds a new standard to aspire towards. “And sometimes to get better and move forward, you work on your weaknesses. When you're working on your weaknesses, sometimes your strengths get a little weak, and that's what's happened to me at the moment. Because I've been so focused on working on things, my strengths have definitely not been as good,” Harrington confided. Does one distraction in life generate a ripple effect that eventually requires being addressed?
“So like a lot of things, if you're trying to move forward you often have to take a step back,” he continued. “So I'm still in the middle of that process. I'm always, always trying to change things and always trying to improve, I'm never trying to stay the same. And if you do try to improve, often times you have to step back for a while. So that's where it's all coming from,” Harrington explained with respect to his lack of success in 2009.
Another popular line of thinking, especially within the business world is that if your not growing then your dying. In other words one day status quo will sneak up on you and no longer be enough to cut it. Its a debatable point for certain, however it falls under the heading of change is a constant and if you don’t prepare to keep up, it can and will come back on you in the end. Clearly, the global economy is going through a shift change and it can be argued, to a varying degree that what was once thought to be growing is now in danger of extinction. There is supporting evidence of this in the form of collateral damage within the corporate world. In the US alone over 30 banks and counting, have been seized by the federal government in 2009 alone. Suffice is to say that Harrington isn’t looking for any bail out plans or is he interested on resting on his past laurels either.
“I'm not trying to play like I played last year,” he said. “I'm trying to play better than that. And I know the way I played was good enough to win major golf, but I don't think I could play unless I was trying to get better. There's periods in my career where I put it on the back boiler for a while, and it usually comes after periods of a poor performance that you kind of get out there and go, well, to hell with becoming a better player, let's go for the short-term results. But when you have the short-term results you look at the very long-term results and you start working on things and changing things,” he continued.
Success begets confidence and yet the two are intertwined somewhat like the chicken or the egg conundrum. However, before anything can happen it starts with a belief within yourself. Without that component it makes the equation even more daunting to materialize.
“Barring results, I'm fully convinced that I'm going on the right track, and everything is on track and going well. And I think I'm going to be physically better as a player and then I have to put my strengths, which are the mental side of the game, on top of that, and overall I should be a better player going forward. But it takes a little bit of time. I'm not writing off this year or anything like that. I'm still very hopeful that I'll be in top form for the U.S. Open,” he said.
And such is life, where we all strive to better tomorrow than we are today. Business isn’t any different. But it begins with a faith that the necessary steps are being taken towards reaching success even if the standards have changed.