Resiliency: Tiger’s Masters journey teaches us life’s most important lesson

By James “Jay” Averitt, Raleigh

It’s not how many times you get knocked down that count, it’s how many times you get back up.- George A. Custer

Everyone in life regardless of status or wealth has bumps on life’s highway. The way a person handles a bump tells you a lot about that person’s character. Regardless of whether or not these bumps occurred due to self-inflicted actions, or life throwing you one of its curve balls, these bumps can provide serious challenges to one’s resolve.

This is what makes the 2019 Masters and Tiger’s story so compelling. We generally aren’t privy to other people’s challenges unless they are close friends or family members. The media made us so aware of Tiger’s challenges that we feel connected to him like a close friend or family member. I am sure not all of his struggles were 100% public, but we’ve seen enough of them to know that he has been through a lot over the past 10 years. Many people when faced with so many challenges tend to fold. The stronger ones dig deep into their core and as Custer stated keep getting back up after being knocked down.

The problem people face with lack of resiliency can be seen often in the realm of dieting. How many people that started an exercise plan or diet plan on January 1st keep up with it through the month of January? I do not have the statistics but if I had to estimate I would guess 20% or fewer. This really boils down to people being unable to deal with setbacks. In any diet or exercise plan, you are going to have bumps, because we are all imperfect people. The key to succeeding in life is being able to bounce back from these setbacks and not let them sabotage your efforts.

One of the keys to being able to deal with a bump is to recognize that the bump could actually make you stronger. There are some setbacks that happen without us having any control over it — but by and large setbacks happen when we didn’t do something correctly. When you hit a setback with dieting or exercise, this is typically because of lack of will power on your part. Nick Saban, the famous Alabama football coach, has stated that “I want to change. I never want to waste a failure.” It is important for us to recognize that we can learn from bumps in the road and improve. In Tiger’s case, he constantly worked to overcome both his medical issues and his personal issues. The 2019 Masters didn’t happen overnight. This was a result of his steadfast desire to improve both his golf game and his life.

There are many examples of how setbacks can make you so much stronger. Here are a few of my favorite ones:

  1. University of Virginia’s Basketball Team- In 2018, they became the first #1 seed in history to lose to a #16 seed. This team had an epic collapse in their first game of the NCAA tournament last year. The 2019 embraced this failure all year long. The team’s head coach, Tony Bennett, constantly emphasized that they had to learn from this failure. The team had a storybook season only losing 3 games the entire season and winning the national championship. I am still a little bitter because they beat my beloved Auburn Tigers in the Final Four, but I do believe it was Virginia’s embracing of their previous failure that created their unbelievable success.
  2. Steve Jobs- In 1985, Steve Jobs was fired from Apple. This was an unbelievably tough setback for Jobs. He founded and loved Apple with his entire soul. Did Jobs embrace this failure and look for improvement or go down the path of those who stop their diets in January? Jobs became so much stronger after this firing. The day after Jobs firing he started a new company and eventually started Pixar. We may never have had Pixar who has created so many wonderful movies if Jobs hadn’t been fired in ’85. We also may not have had all of the innovations that Apple made in this century. Jobs developed a chip on his shoulder and became even more innovative after the firing.
  3. Michael Jordan- In 1978, Michael Jordan did not make the varsity high school basketball team. This may not seem like a big deal — -but Jordan developed a chip on his shoulder after this slighting and played his entire career to correct this wrong. Even in his 2009 Hall of Fame acceptance speech, he discussed not making the team and even invited the individual who made the team over him to his Hall of Fame acceptance.

These are but a few example of how resiliency over failures makes us so much stronger. When skin grows back after a scar, that skin is much tougher. The key is making sure that you realize any setback is temporary (although it may be long-lasting) and ultimately the setback will make you better. This 15th Majors Win has to be the sweetest of Tiger’s career. You also can rise above setbacks and make your next win the sweetest of your career.


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