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Nothing to Lose

I know nothing about golf other than the not-so-perfect form I displayed after a couple of cold ones with co-workers at a mandatory golf day. Mind you, I had a lot of fun but I realized it’s just not for me. But there’s one golf-related story that stole my heart. Y.E. Yang won his first championship in 2009 against the-then-current-king, Tiger Woods. While Woods was no doubt the favourite to win, Yang took him down. In the interviews following his win, Yang talked about how he put the challenge into perspective days before the game. “It’s not like you’re in an octagon where you’re fighting against Tiger and he’s going to bite you, or swing you with his 9-iron. The worst I could do was just lose to Tiger. So I really had nothing much at stake.” Yang could have easily looked Tiger in the eye and choked under the pressure. He could’ve told himself that he didn’t stand a chance and victory was impossible. Instead, he took another perspective. He decided to take the stance that he had nothing to lose. Really, what’s the worst that could happen?

How different would your life be if you had nothing to lose, nothing to prove?

There’s a huge link between your thoughts and results. I’m a true urban hippy – I believe that if you think positively, you’ll get positive results. Throw all the hippiness out the window for a minute and there’s a lot of science behind this. Australian psychologist Alan Richardson ran an experiment. He took a group of basketball players, divided them into three groups and tested each player’s ability to make free throws.

  • The first group would practice 20 minutes every day.
  • The second would only visualize themselves making free throws, but no real practice was allowed.
  • The third would neither practice nor visualize.

There was significant improvement in the group that only visualized; they were almost as good as the guys who actually practiced. Go figure. Apparently your mind doesn’t know the difference between something you imagine to be real and the real thing. Without getting all metaphysical, it’s very simple. What you think you become.  It’s important to keep your assumptions in check. If you think you can’t do something, be something, have something, guess what? You won’t. Period.

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