I'm going to talk about a subject that I know will make many of you a little uncomfortable today, but bear with me.
If you really listen and reflect on what I'm going to share today, it can and will have a dramatic impact on your life - not just golf.
But first, let me ask you a serious question.
How do you view failure in your life?
As humans, we're quite adept at making mistakes as we do them daily.
Heck, if you think about it, there's probably not one thing in life we're more consistent at than making mistakes.
Many of us keep making the same mistakes, day in and day out.
Worse, some of us don't realize we're making a mistake at all.
It's almost as if we were engineered to make them for some reason...
It's a gift that we all possess, but only some utilize.
By utilize I mean taking the greatest tool we have in our toolbox and putting it to use.
What is that tool?
The ability to learn.
I believe that the ability for us to learn new things is the most valuable weapon we have in this world.
You can see that very evidently in my creation of RotarySwing.
What is RotarySwing really, other than a way for me to teach you how to teach yourself?
I subscribe wholeheartedly to the notion of teaching a man to fish rather than giving him a fish.
And that's exactly what RotarySwing is at its heart - me teaching you how to understand your swing, become self-reliant, to stand on your own two feet as a golfer and depend on no one but yourself for your success.
I'm simply here to show you the way - but YOU must do the LEARNING.
And what is learning, really, at its essence?
I can tell you unequivocally what learning is for me.
Without hesitation, I can tell you that every great life lesson that I have learned have come from my lowest points, biggest mistakes and greatest failures.
I continue to this day to make more mistakes, but rarely the same ones.
But how would I know how to avoid something if I didn't know what it really was through experience?
How would I recognize it was even a mistake unless there was some sort of consequence, some pain?
Is touching a hot stove really bad for us? How do we know? And how did we learn that it truly was a mistake?
In our golf swings, we all want the same thing - a straight line to the promised land.
But progress in golf often looks more like a chart reflecting the stock market - there are lots of ups and downs but the trend should always be heading steadily up.
History has suggested the ONLY way it continues to move up is by first moving down.
Because it is in these downturns, these mistakes, where the real learning takes place.
Learning to me is really about understanding, comprehension through experience.
And the only way to truly comprehend something is to experience both sides of the coin - success AND failure - then you have a true and deep understanding of what you're trying to learn.
Often as golfers, we tend to let mistakes completely derail us and rather than trying to learn from our failure, we get angry, some even throw clubs and compound the error.
We take an opportunity to grow, to become better, smarter, more educated and completely squander it.
In my younger golfing days, I thought it was ok to get angry on the course after a bad shot.
I justified it to myself as an outward expression of caring about what I was doing, I suppose.
But, with retrospect, I look back on those times and realize those were THE times where I really learned something incredibly valuable that I would have never learned through success.
Today, I turn 44 years old and the one thing I am perhaps most proud of in my life is this:
I have cultivated a mindset that seeks to recognize the opportunity in failure at the very moment it's happening.
This, so far, is my greatest "stupid human trick."
Most of us, with even the slightest reflection, can look back at tough times in our lives or on the course and recognize a valuable lesson learned.
But what if you could do that in the very middle of it all, in real time, while it's happening?
It's my literal time machine.
I don't have to wait days, weeks or even years to look back and realize what I learned.
I look at the situation I'm in and try to see the lessons that can come from the wisdom that I would gain later on down the road looking back the current situation - but I do it in real time.
Don't get me wrong, just like any skill set being learned, it takes years to develop mastery, but the very exercise alone has paid huge dividends, even if I don't see the complete lesson until later on.
That's because I no longer look at failure as a reflection of my inadequacies - I truly see them as life's greatest (though often uncomfortable) and most valuable OPPORTUNITIES.
And that's today's word for you - opportunity.
When you have a bad day on the course, working on your swing, a setback, whatever, stop right there as the emotions begin to run hot and step back for a moment.
Golf is trying to teach you something - and golf, as I like to say, is a metaphor for life.
You have an opportunity to better yourself - right now, in this very instant.
To get better, to become more educated, smarter, savvier, more successful - if only you take the time to look at failure for what it really is:
An opportunity to move closer to achievement.
I've never met a single golfer who has never lost a golf ball, made a bogey or had a 3 putt.
We all fail, the only difference in the ones that succeed over the long haul?
What if I could make you a one time incredible offer and it wouldn't cost you a thing?
Imagine if you could go back in time 20 years ago and teach yourself all the things you know now, would you do it?
Of course, who wouldn't?
But, as look back 20 years ago at my 24 year old self, I wouldn't have had a clue what to do with all that information.
Why? Because I didn't learn it, someone just "told" it to me.
Memorizing someone else's thoughts doesn't lead to comprehension, trying something, making a mistake and learning from that failure is the true path to mastery.
People often ask me how I came up with RotarySwing.
While I talked about it a recent interview here, the part I didn't discuss was all the failures along the way.
Tournament wins I blew, horrible shots I hit, you name it, you haven't done anything that myself and every other golfer on the planet hasn't done before.
But I use those failures for self betterment.
One of my members recently posted on a Live Lesson I did "it's amazing how quickly you can spot these things".
While I appreciate the compliment, why do you think it is that I can take a look at one swing and immediately know what's wrong and how to fix it?
It wasn't through getting it right all the time, that I can assure you!
The reason I can pick up things that others can't and do it so quickly is because I have made the same mistake myself at some point or another.
Me making mistakes because I was always a player first and teacher second allowed me to gain incredible insight into the golf swing and the development of RotarySwing.
It would have been completely IMPOSSIBLE for me to develop the RotarySwing method and the DEAD Drill without having mastered the movements first myself.
And to master those movements - it came with a LOT of mistakes and failures along the way.
But each one brought me one step closer to where I am today and created the fertile ground for me to develop the DEAD Drill you guys love so much.
So, the next time you feel frustrated, down on your luck, lost and confused, know that you have a choice to make.
Do you lay there and get kicked in the teeth and hope someone brings you a participation ribbon for "trying"?
Or, do you do what all the wise and successful people who have come before you and turn "limons into limonade"?
The great thing about it, the choice of success is completely up to you.
Be like John, do the work, learn, and get results like this:
I have practiced the Dead drill since last January and never hit a real golf ball since last September. Please see comment I posted but not sure if it went thru to Craig- who helped my shoulder last March...
I just played golf for the first time since last September and started RS Dead Drills last winter. I was skeptical since I was nervous about hitting a real golf ball! I cannot believe how effortless and crisp my iron shots were. Last year I was ready to give up the "Body Swing" method I practiced for the prior 2 years made iron shots worse--fat, thin and S---ks.
Please tell Chuck that he saved my love of golf--I hit crisper and much longer irons like I used to 4 years ago!! Thank you for your tip as well for my shoulder--it never bothered me again!! My 2 golf buddies subscribe to RS as well!!
Best on-line golf lesson system I have ever taken, even the thousands of $$ of live lessons for the last 40 years! The number of reps is not emphasized enough or at all from most instructors or other technical systems.
John Baker, President