In a paper “The Many Colors of Success: What do Executives want out of Life?” Manfred F. R. Kets de Vries mentioned that “it was noticeable how often success was associated with the ability to go from failure to failure without loss of enthusiasm.”
It is a great description of many golfers. And playing golf is a great reminder of this connection between success and failure.
Assume that on an 18 hole course a good golfer will use a maximum of 108 strokes. Everything below 120 strokes is seen as respectable. The average golfer will use 90 strokes, which means that using 30% more strokes is considered respectable. Quite interestingly, age has little impact on the average number of strokes a golfer will use.
An enthusiastic golfer will benefit from experience and skills to see what his last stroke announced. He will know that some of the result is due to circumstances outside of his control. He will also see that his execution of the stroke failed to integrate all the circumstances.
A good golfer knows, that the only person he is playing with or against, is himself. It teaches humility.
A golfer’s understanding of success is what may ease dealing with the constant sense of up and down during a game. Every stroke is starting anew, it works out as planned or it doesn’t. It fails or it succeeds. His task is to persist.
His view on success will determine how he will look back at his game and look forward to his next game. That is how much pleasure he gets from playing and how much of that pleasure should be attributed, to that better than average score. It’s an equation into which he can also consider how much of that pleasure is a result of persistence when his score has been below average.