Bubba Watson won the Masters Tournament on Sunday, April 8, 2012, after surviving a pressure-cooker contest called a sudden-death playoff. The tearful emotions that Bubba displayed after his win seemed to surprise some. But why? His release of powerful feelings after his facing stringent hours and days of nearly superhuman self-control is a powerful lesson of how high the price of success is, be it at the close of a tournament watched by tens of millions of people, closing your first sale, developing the first proto-type of a valuable, practical product… you get the picture.
When asked for his reaction to winning the Masters, Bubba said in substance that he could not find an adequate response and simply replied, “I am not certain my dreams ever took me this far.” But I think his statement is more a function of his inbred humility. I would suspect that Bubba not only dreamed of winning the Masters but of becoming one of the greatest players ever! As I previously wrote, “The most wondrous aspect of dreams is that they are often inversely proportional to our success. The greater our success, the greater still our dreams….”
Sergio Garcia didn’t fare as well. A truly gifted golfer (I am a fan), the 32-year-old Spaniard has not won a major championship in 52 attempts. After Sunday’s Masters Tournament, he is quoted as saying that he sees he simply isn’t capable of winning a major championship. I hope his remarks are merely a function of his disappointment, for if he has no expectation of ever winning at the loftiest levels of golf, his dreams have vaporized. And he has been their only slayer.
If Sergio truly holds a pessimistic view of his future, then one thing is for certain, he will never gain the successes his talent can surely provide. While the dreams of an optimist do not always materialize, they often do come to fruition as optimism is a condition precedent to success.
Of course, a pessimist is never wrong. Nope, a pessimist is right 100% of the time! I guess that’s some kind of victory, being right.
In the last chapter of his classic book, Walden (1854), Henry David Thoreau explains what took him to his solitary, 16-month habitation next to Walden Pond and the part dreams played in what he learned–what we all learn, really, when we read the book of his sojourn:
“I learned this, at least, by my experiment; that if one advances confidently in the direction of his dreams, and endeavors to live the life which he has imagined, he will meet with a success unexpected in common hours. He will put some things behind, will pass an invisible boundary; new, universal, and more liberal laws will begin to establish themselves around and within him; or the old laws be expanded and interpreted in his favor in a more liberal sense, and he will live with the license of a higher order of beings. In proportion as he simplifies his life, the laws of the universe will appear less complex, and solitude will not be solitude, nor poverty poverty, nor weakness weakness. If you have built castles in the air, your work need not be lost; that is where they should be. Now put the foundations under them.“
Regardless of your calling, remember this–no one ever put foundations under their dreams without trying–sometimes again and again! Sometimes more than 52 attempts.