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Developing A Winning Mindset

By Dr. Morris Pickens, PhD
with C. Lynn Northrup

We have a choice everyday regarding the attitude we will embrace for that day.  We cannot change our past . . . we cannot change the fact that people will act in a certain way.  We cannot change the inevitable.  The only thing we can do is play on the one string we have and this is our attitude . . . I am convinced that life is 10% what happens to me and 90% how I react to it.
Charles Swindoll

One of the most important things I teach players is how to develop positive resilient mindsets.  A positive resilient mindset means expecting good things to happen and believing that future shots and rounds will be progressively better.  It does not mean that you are always a “happy go lucky” individual or that you won’t get upset on the course.  It simply means that you have made a choice to view past, present, and future events in a way that helps build your future success.

Being resilient is an unchanging thought process regardless of feedback encountered, either positive or negative.  Inlayman’s terms this means that how you think doesn’t change depending on how you are playing.  If you are playing great, your thought processes should not change.  Likewise, your thought processes shouldn’t change if you are playing poorly or have a bad hole. You let your thinking dictate your play and not the other way around.  

Combining positive and resilient thinking is how you create an expectation that good things are going to happen regardless of how you are currently playing.  If you are playing poorly, things will get better.  If you are playing great, you can play even better and more consistently over time.  The process of combining positive and resilient thoughts into a winning mindset provides a foundation of a broad, all-encompassing way of thinking about and evaluating your game.  

A mindset is who you are; it personifies your core being.  This is why I want players to develop a positive, resilient mindset - this mindset becomes how they “play the game.”  This provides a mental foundation to play your best golf. Your passion determines the target for the results you hope to achieve. This isn't easy. Keeping your thoughts focused on positive outcomes is hard work. It takes persistence, perseverance, and patience.