Ben Hogan was known to say, “I’ve noticed that the harder I work, the luckier I get.” The essence of Hogan’s communication is that good things happen when the sweat equity has been put in. Tiger Woods brought a new level to hard work in golf, not just putting in the requisite hours on the range, but transforming the golfer into all-around athlete, adding strength conditioning, ab-work, leg strength and even speed work, thus making golf not just a sport for swing wonky nerd, but for the big-boy looking to hit the long ball, and appealing to the football, basketball and baseball fan. It is also clear that many of the incredible shots Tiger pulled off to win golf tournaments were the direct result of the hard work, both on the range and in the gym, that he had put into his game. Here are some of the benefits of hard work I encourage you to consider:
Confidence: Any athlete will tell you that their regimen of hard work produced in them an invaluable sense of confidence. Confidence is such an obviously vital state of mind that it almost doesn’t bear mentioning. However, many people feel as though confidence is a character trait rather than something that can be honed. But, again, think about Tiger Woods: he may be confident by temperament, but his hard work undergirds every shot he takes, every stride he walks.
Motivation: All teachers, therapists, bosses and coaches want to unlock the mystery of motivation, and solve the question of what makes people want to change, improve, and excel. Often, though, it’s almost impossible even for people themselves to say why they do what they do. So, maybe we can say that hard work itself breeds hard work. Hard work, and the dividends it pays off, flicks a switch in an athlete to hunger for even more hard work. Think again of Tiger Woods: he may be the only golfer you can name who, at the peak his abilities, refashioned his swing no less than three times. Only someone who loves hard work would subject himself to something like that in search of better results.
Audacity: Readers might reasonably argue with me that audacity and confidence are versions of the same thing. I am going to claim that from a performance standpoint, they are quite different skills. Confidence provides the belief that you belong out there and can win, whereas audacity gives you the belief that you can pull off the stunning athletic moment that steals the show and knocks the wind out of your opponent’s sails. Consider just two of the following examples from his amazing repertoire of audacious shots:
Remember: there is a difference between audacity and vainglory. That difference is hard work.
Work hard. Be confident. Be audacious!