For those of you that don’t know who Jack Nicklaus is, he is arguably the greatest golfer to have ever played the game of golf. Yes, Tiger Woods has revolutionized the game of golf over the past two decades but Jack still holds the record for the most Major tournaments won in a career. A mean feat in any era. A living legend, his golfing prowess is only surpassed by the incredible character and consummate gentleman that he is.
The key to Mr. Nicklaus’ success, as it is with almost all hyper-performing athletes, was his ability to have absolute clarity about what shots he wanted to play and to have the necessary level of commitment to perform those shots. This is as true in the boardroom or classroom as it is on the golf course.
What separates high performers from everyone else is their mind-set. It was once said that although golf is played on a course that spans across many acres of land, the game is actually played on a 3-inch course. These 3-inches exists between your ears, in your mind. This is ultimately where the game of golf and the game of life is won or lost.
Back to Jack. One of the things Mr. Nicklaus is famous for, is the way in which he describes his routine before hitting any shot he plays. He termed his routine, “going to the movies”. He would say “Before every shot I go to the movies inside my head. Here is what I see. First, I see the ball, white and sitting up high on the bright green grass. Then, I see the ball going there; its path and its trajectory and even its behavior on landing. The next scene shows me making the kind of swing that will turn the previous image into reality. These home movies are key to my concentration and my positive approach to every shot”. Vivid, descriptive, clear, committed, powerful.
Having this approach enabled Jack to become a revolutionary performer. For every shot he played, he had a clear picture of what he wanted to achieve and he had the necessary commitment to performing the action.
The reason there are only ever a select few that truly fulfill their potential and even go beyond their talents is because only a precious few have necessary clarity about what It is they want to achieve and the commitment to see that vision come to reality. There are cases where some possess the requisite clarity but they fail to achieve because they lack the level of commitment required to achieve that which they see clearly.
This begs two questions; one, what are you seeing? What “movies” are you playing in your head when it comes to your family, your work or your contribution to society? Are you clear? Is it a positive vision? And secondly, are you willing, as Dr. Eric Thomas would say, to “commit to your commitments”? I’m reminded of a scene from the movie, The Matrix, where the wise leader by the name of Morpheus says to a young man destined for greatness; “There’s a difference between knowing the path and walking it”.
The likelihood of us fulfilling our potential as individuals comes down to possessing, in great measure, these two things; Absolute Clarity and Unwavering Commitment.