This post written by Steven Kotler on Forbes.com was been co-authored with Dr. Gio Valiante, Rollins University high-performance psychologist, author, ”mental game” consultant to the Golf Channel and Golf Digest, and a consultant to many of the world’s greatest golfers, including Justin Rose, Camilo Villegas, and Bryce Molder.
As of late, much ink has been spilled on the relationship between golf and business as research has shown time and again that a significant percentage of business is done on or around golf courses.
Fans of the Economist, for example, now know that the combination of golf’s semi-egalitarian ways (i.e. old and young can play together and the handicapping system keeps play fair among uneven participants) and that the game’s four to five hour time window is the perfect platform for building business relationships.
And Forbes blogger, Cheryl Conner agrees: “Show up at the course by yourself and you’ll end up in a foursome with people you don’t know. When golfing 18 holes, you will have plenty of time to engage in conversations that will allow you to really get to know the other golfers in a way that LinkedIn LNKD +1.31% and email will never provide.” Only long flights and travel adventures can evoke such intimacy with relative strangers.
Perhaps the greatest and most important overlap between business and golf is the peak performance state known as flow. In both golf and business, the state has been consistently linked to winning play.
In golf, my co-author, Dr. Gio Valiante, conducted a lengthy study of PGA Tour players and found that the worlds best players consistently play their best when in flow.
In his book, Golf Flow, Gio quotes a bevy of big names describing how the state raises the level of their game. When Adam Scott shot 62 at the 2014 Arnold Palmer Invitational, he said, “Today was just one of those days where the hole was a bit like a bucket.” Golfer Ben Herron said, “When not in flow, I see the lake beside the green; in flow I see the green beside the lake.”
And reflect on Tiger Woods’ two signature wins: the record-setting 15-shot US Open win at Pebble Beach, and his 12-shot victory at the 1997 Masters. Both can be attributed to flow. Of those two wins, Tiger said:
There comes a point in time when you feel tranquil, when you feel calm; you feel at ease with yourself. And those two weeks, I felt that way. I felt very at ease with myself. And for some reason, things just flowed. And no matter what you do, good or bad, it really doesn’t get to you. Even the days when you wake up on the wrong side of the bed, for some reason, it doesn’t feel too bad; it’s just all right.You can read the entire piece by clicking this link.
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