No. 258



As a way to introduce a success principle that I believe will be of value to you, I would like to take you back to the early 1970s soon after the end of the Vietnam War. I was attending a conference in Chicago and heard the famous Texas humorist Dr. Charles Jarvis tell a story about this young man who was being drafted into the Army. Soon after he arrived at the military base, an Army Doctor gave him a routine examination to see if he was ready for basic training prior to being shipped to the front lines.

This Doctor said, Young man, are you ready to go to war and fight the enemy? This young man replied in a highly enthusiastic manner, Doc, I cant wait to get this basic training behind me. I want to go hand to hand, face to face with the Viet Cong. I want to throw my rifle, hand grenades and anything I can find at them and take out whole units at the same time. Just let me at Charlie and they will wish they had never seen me. We are going to need some little fellows like me to crawl in those underground tunnels they have dug to root them out. Just give me some gloves with wires sticking out of the fingers so I can claw their eyes out when I find them.

At this point the Doctor said, M-a-a-a-n...youre crazy! This old boy said, Write it down, Doc! We all laughed but there is a principle here that could make a real difference in your success. It has been proven over and over again that human beings are creatures of habit. For example, to achieve success, we must form success habits. If we have enough bad habits, we are just not going to make it. Its as simple as that. What really brought this principle home to me is the fact that Ive gotten more serious about my golf game. I dont gamble but I would like to play better for my own satisfaction and to keep from being embarrassed when I play with others who are much better than I am.

I have a good friend by the name of Doyle Cook who lives here now, but he used to live on the West Coast. Several years ago he shot a 78 at the famous Pebble Beach Golf Course in California, so he is a pretty fair golfer. Lately, he has been giving me tips after watching the things Ive been doing wrong. Of course, when you dont play very often you forget from one round to the next, so I have written his tips down in a little book to be able to review them before each round. Now, by striking the ball properly I can expect to improve and shoot a lower score.

In a moment I want to share a few of these tips but the principle I want you to see is that the only way to get better at anything is to practice the proper way. We can continue to revert back to old habits and never get better or we can learn the proper way, practice it, and improve over time. As I say, this principle will work in any area of life. For the benefit of recreational golfers like me, I wish I had space to give them all, but if you want the rest just send me a self-addressed stamped envelope and they will soon be on their way.

Tip # 1. Approach each round with a positive attitude that I will improve if I am patient in mastering the basic fundamentals of the game. # 2. Play each shot independently and take time to concentrate. Dont try to look the ball into the hole. Make the right shot and it will hit the target. # 3. Take one or more practice swings and remember to follow through on each shot. # 4. Mentally concentrate on keeping my head down. Dont look up until the ball is on its way. Im going to have to break it off here but I have about 17 of these tips so far. Again, the point is clear. If you want to improve at anything, learn the proper technique and WRITE IT DOWN! (EDITOR'S NOTE: Jim Davidson is a motivational speaker and syndicated columnist. You may contact him at 2 Bentley Drive, Conway, AR 72034.)