Jacks Secret.......a practical, purposeful, right arrangement of mind
Hidden in plain sight
Jack Nicklaus had a secret, and it made him into the best golfer who ever played the game.
Now, the thing about 'secrets' is that they aren't really secrets at all; actually, secrets are often very visible, and spoken of freely! The problem is that the real 'gems' of information, the things that can really make a difference to the watcher or reader is most often overlooked.
Jack never hid his philosophies.
If you read his books or listen to him in commentary, he freely and enthusiastically repeats his secret (philosophy) again and again, and credits it, as the thing that made him a champion, many, many times over.
His secret was ........a practical, purposeful, right arrangement of mind.
This arrangement of mind became his winning blueprint. A unique configuration that formed a process containing everything he knew about the game, and how to compete at the highest level..... and it worked again and again and again.
Jack Nicklaus's genius was in knowing how jumpy the nerves of his competitors were under the stress of trying to win, and how detrimental it was to their performance. Jack never really needed to learn how win........No, he just learnt how not to beat himself, and he managed that in the most practical way!
He got all his ducks in a row more often that anyone else!
In 3 decades of my own golf addiction I have never read, nor heard of any other golfer nail their principles to the mast in the way Jack has! It can't just be me that noticed it, so it begs the question as to why isn't the significance of 'not beating yourself' (as a reliable principle of self management under stress), not universally adopted by other golfers?
Why isn't this type of self management described as a 'Law', and understood as THE definitive model to copy?
I believe the reason is because people are moved by 'feelings', and these sensations signify an understanding! So, Jack Nicklaus formed a process that increased the feeling of certainty (control), and other golfers don't!
'Jack got all his ducks in a row more often that anyone else'!
For a golfer to begin to be able to learn how to adopt some of Jack's winning ways he would have to understanding feelings, and the intentions and practises that eventually form ideal feelings.
In particular, the comfortable feeling of 'certainty' is hardly ever practiced, in fact its hardly ever mentioned.... and in our game of golf, the opposite feeling of 'uncertainty', wrecks many a golfers chance to ever win. It creeps into the psyche of every golfer on pretty much every shot, no matter what standard the golfer is, that's hitting it.
Jack managed to neutralise the disruptive affects of his nerves better than all the others, and did it despite wanting to win just as much as all the others. So what kept his nerves in check, when most of his competitors faded?
The answer has always been hidden in plain sight!
Jacks secret was 'hidden' in plain sight!
Desire to win
Desire drives up the nervous intensity!
When nerves are turned on there is an this increase in vibration inside the body. These altered states make most people feel uncomfortable and less in control. Any number of unfamiliar physical sensations can appear when a 'body' is under stress, including sweaty palms, impaired flexibility, an impulse to rush, or a faster heartbeat. Also, the psychological fear of embarrassment and the potential of failure, further interferes with nervous function.
The golfer with the 'I must win' desire as his main focus, just feels really uncomfortable because he is flooded with uncertainty. When his mind registers this shaky state, its 'moved' by it, and so his body/mind reacts by releasing more stress hormones, which raises the discomfort levels even more.
If that golfer makes a mistake at a crucial stage of a round (and under the heightened tension created by the desire to win) it 'stings', and he then had real difficulty in functioning normally. Not only that, but this 'sting' of mild trauma is now imprinted, and can appear as a stress response triggered under similar circumstances, in the near, or far away future.
In fact, the sting and negative emotional 'sizzle' of losing after being in a winning position, or when making mistakes can become a habit which is subconsciously ingrained. Subsequent mistakes are more likely to happen at crucial moments, and can even sabotage the golfers entire career. Some golfers never dare get in that position again. It just makes them feel too bad.
The difference between other top pro's and Jack Nicklaus was that losing didn't equal failure, and mistakes that may have lead to losing, didn't lead to excessive negative stress being experienced by him! His feelings surrounding success or failure were supported by a different sets of metrics.
So, when a more nerve-friendly perception of success and failure burns into your psyche, there is less interference in the natural working flow of the body, and consequently, less disruption in thought and motor function while playing...........The idea is to bypass the intention of 'I have to win', in favour of something much more helpful.
Then.....winning just happens.
'Excessive desire formed from the wrong motivations, has many unfortunate consequences'
Curiosity and seduction
Secrets are very seductive, they are like click bait to the social media generation. But, crucial pieces of information are not understood as crucial by the reader. So suggesting that something is a secret can sound like twaddle..... even if its anything but twaddle.
Even if the message iterated in this article, was just the best you would ever read regarding improving your performance. Actually realising it as you read it, and processing it to mean something to you, would be near impossible.
Why? Because understanding is a 'feeling' accepted as truth, and (our) truth is an impulse generated by our own belief system. We rarely read and feel at the same time, unless something blasts through the cognitive layers as an epiphany.
Without curiosity to hold you in place, written information is impossible to grasp without continuous determined effort, and if your experiential filters don't give you a nudge to investigate, the importance is lost.
To trust or not to trust, that is the question?
Whilst reading, the question arises within, 'why should I put so much effort into understanding this particular piece of information'?............and when no answer that 'feels' right returns from that enquiry, you 'click', onto something else.
Information collected intellectually isn't converted to a feeling of certainty, of 'knowing' immediately (if ever), so then its overlooked. To convert new information into a feeling, takes trusting in doing and testing.........then confirming or disregarding.
Over his tournament life, Jack Nicklaus consciously or unconsciously transferred his collective theories of self control as a way to fulfil his desire (winning) more efficiently than any other golfer.
His special talent may not actually have been his ability to strike a golf ball well, because so many golfers can. Most likely it was a host of predispositions that biologically, neurologically, physiologically and artistically gave him the edge over everyone else.
He just knew, that when he stepped onto the 1st tee if his ball striking was just reasonable, he would be in with a great chance to win...........and if his ball striking was on point it would be hard for him to lose.
He created a mental diet for himself that lead to success.
Jack Nicklaus competed against himself, in a similar way often suggested, that golfers play the course and not their competitors.....His standards were determined by how disciplined he could be to his own process, and not by the score he returned.
Countless times Jack would say 'I cant control what anyone else is doing, I can only control what I am doing''!
Jack Nicklaus had a strong 'feeling' of certainty about what that sentence meant to him....whilst other golfers, doing it their own way, just din't. This higher sense of certainty was carried 'feelingly' into his performances, and previous successes armed him with the confidence to stay on track.....(or to put it more accurately, he felt ' less uncertainty' than others felt, when faced with a winning possibility).
It truly is Jacks secret, and only Jacks secret, because the way his mind organises his playing priorities (that support those words), is unique to him..... and although the secret is every other golfers 'secret' too.......... no one else may ever get it!
If you want to try, then think from 'the principles' he was using.
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