Monday, June 20, 2011

What Can We Learn From Him?

He's poised. He's articulate. He's thoughtful. He's willing to speak honestly about his shortcomings... and now he's a US Open Champion! He's Rory McIlroy, and he's 22 years old!

We don't have to be golfers to understand how pressure affects our thoughts and actions. Just two months ago, Rory allowed that pressure to dictate, ultimately getting the best of him. The media frenzy that followed his mental collapse at The Masters would've destroyed most people, and definitely all 22 year olds. Somehow, he found the confidence and maturity to stand in front of the microphone, head held high, and, in front of the world, confront his weaknesses. He was sincere, unapologetic, and promised internal change would result.

This post isn't about winning the Open, but instead, the mental toughness, fearlessness, and discipline it took to make such a quick comeback. All of us can relate to falling on our face, and having to make a decision whether to stay down, or stand and risk more failure. We haven't had to look at those crossroads in front of the world, though... making his mental comeback even more miraculous.

The microphone from The Golf Channel was shoved in his face, tape recorders from ESPN, and an infinite amount of global reporters, all asking if he'd ever recover from his Augusta meltdown. How did Rory answer? By literally destroying US Open scoring records, quietly and confidently swaggering down each fairway.

His physical actions mirrored genius, but I'm more impressed with his emotional domination of the field. He made a conscious decision to mentally command his every thought. In his words, he "lost himself in the process of every decision." He focused on his mindset, and the results that would manifest from his thinking. THIS is the genius that was Rory McIlroy.

Some say he's the next Tiger Woods, others believe it's too early, and no one will duplicate that type of mastery. I'm of the opinion that if he decides the reward at the end of the grind is worth the mental discipline, his trophy case will be overflowing with Major wins. The power of the mind is infinite. Unfortunately, not many attempt to tap into it's ability, leaving us with many physical talents, most underachieving. Rory has proven his mechanical perfection, and for a four day stretch, the potential of his mental performance. Will he look in the mirror, smile, and feel the need for more?

When we stare at our own reflection, what's looking back? Are we living up to our potential? Are we pushing through our comfort zones, willing to grimace through the pain of growth? What can we learn from this amazing 22 year old?


Jordan J. Caron said...

I love the way Rory backed up his words after the Augusta meltdown with a victory in the very next Major! I knew at his age he wouldn't be bothered and figured he would come back, just not so fast. It was an impressive mental performance and he is no doubt very confident in himself.

For me I need to push through my comfort zones in a few different areas of my life. As much as I would like to use Rory as inspiration, deep down it comes done to me.

Dayne Gingrich said...

Hi Jordan,

Yes, it'll always come down to you... but sometimes it helps to draw from others' experiences. Looking at Rory, golfer or not, his situation (and how he handled it) can push us through our "walls."

Thanks for the reply. Good luck breaking through your barriers.