Anytime I have the opportunity to be around people who are successful in life, business or on the golf course, I always look for a “key” to their success. While most people are star struck by the accomplishments of a Bill Gates or how Tiger Woods can hit a laser like 5-iron to a back right pin, personally I have found it more fascinating as to why these people are able to achieve such high levels of success. Is there a theme to their style or common characteristic which enables them to attaint levels that most people find out of reach?
Over the last few weeks my wife and I have been making stops at graduation parties of many of my students who are transitioning into college life. While my time with them has mostly been spent at the golf course, the experience of seeing them in their own home with years of school pictures and academic awards laid out on a table has opened my eyes to just how well they do in the classroom. These kids are smart! No question my best students on the course are also the best ones in the classroom. Why? In my opinion, the answer is discipline.
I have come to believe that discipline is the primary characteristic that separates those who achieve from those who do not. I also believe it is a learned behavior that under the right environment will grow and flourish. However, when discipline is not present in one area of life, seldom does it show up anywhere else. So as a parent, golf instructor or someone who has the ability to impact young lives, where does that leave us?
My many years of teaching have taught me that it is always best to be honest and straight forward with my students. This is true even when the conversation can be difficult. Great players and high achievers want people in their lives who are willing to be honest and have the courage to challenge them and expect discipline. Deep down they know it is the culture of discipline and expectations that is the “key” to their success. It is the very thing that allows them to be successful on the golf course, in the classroom and most importantly in life.