Thomas Edison allegedly made over 10,000 unsuccessful
attempts to invent the light bulb. When reminded of this he retorted, “I haven’t failed, I have just found 10,000 ways that haven’t worked.” But, how long will you persist until you succeed?Success needs persistence, but where does persistence come from? Having an optimistic outlook is a good starting point.


Optimism is important for success in all areas of life, including sport. US psychologist Dr Martin Seligman has done a lot of research on the subject and found he was able to predict sports results based on levels of optimism! In golf things don’t always go to plan, no matter how positive you are. How you react to what seems like a negative event, such as missing a short putt, is crucial to your confidence and therefore your success. When negative things happen, it is natural to feel momentarily helpless, but how you then deal with them is what’s important. To succeed in golf you’ll have to overcome lots of trials, obstructions and set-backs – often just in one round. A high level of optimism is crucial in achieving peak golfing performance. Dr Seligman suggested the following in regard to how you explain events to yourself.

PERSONALISATION How personally you take events

PERMANENCE How long the effects of events last

PERVASIVENESS How global the effects of events are

When something goes wrong, try not to take it personally. Make the effect short-lasting by releasing any negative feelings, and don’t let it affect other parts of your game. When things go well, do the opposite. Make sure you absorb the effects personally and enjoy them to the full. Let the positive feelings be long-lasting, and let them flow into all areas of your game.