“To give yourself the best possible chance of playing to your potential, you must prepare for every eventuality. That means practice.” ~ Seve Ballesteros
In honor of the passing of Seve Ballesteros this weekend, I found this quote attributed to him. The one this everyone admired about Seve was his intense ability to compete and make shots no matter the obstacle. When it comes to being a successful professional golfer, avoiding problems is the key to winning. However, the ability to make shots when something unfortunate happens is what separates the good ones from the great ones. Seve was a great one because he had fire, personality, and the focus to work himself out of some incredible situations. At 54, he was much too young to lose a battle to brain cancer.
The lesson for us in this quote is in our preparation and our practice. Habits are not something that simply happens. Habits are formed by doing things well, doing them correctly, and doing them consistently. Sometimes it takes time to develop our habits. It takes even longer to learn which habits suit us best. Regardless, making a habit a good, consistent, and reliable program in our lives is practicing it everyday.
The other half of the lesson is preparation. I have written about adversity before. There are two types of adversity – unanticipated and avoidable. Things will and do happen in our daily lives that we could not have planned, foreseen, or expected. That is unanticipated adversity – illness, death, loss of job, etc. Most of the adversity that derails us is the adversity that derails us every time. Yet, we have not taken control of this adversity yet and this is the adversity that can be dealt with and avoided.
We know ourselves better than anyone. We know the things that allow us to be distracted or unmotivated or simply quit. Sometimes it is a time management flaw, it a prioritization challenge or it is a commitment issue – regardless the pattern, we know what adversity we create or allow that consistently interrupts our progress. It is this adversity that we need to prepare for and begin practicing our habits on changing, improving or avoiding it altogether.
The one thing I can tell you about Seve is that he was not going to change the way he played competitive golf. He knew how he was going to play the game. And, the way he played it, he would and could put himself in situations that challenged his ability to win. But, because he recognized the type of adversity he could create for himself, he also was prepared to deal with it. His practice and his preparation enabled him to be successful despite some of the obstacles he created for himself.
When it comes to our goals and our commitment, there will be obstacles. We need to recognize the ones that we are likely to create for ourselves. And, because we are prepared for them and have practiced great habits in dealing with them, we are more likely to stay on our course and our path for success. Practice great habits and prepare for those obstacles that can and do occur – you will find your way.