With the oppressing heat of the summer comes lots of perspiration. In psychological terms, pressure can also make us perspire under the heat of competition. Besides the sweat factor, pressure also makes us go to our dominant response. This is one of the oldest psychological principles: we go to our main habit under stress. I call this the “squeeze factor,” and this is one of the differentiating factors between those golfers who are successful and those golfers who choke under the heat.
To illustrate the squeeze principle, imagine you have an orange in your right hand. If you squeeze the orange, what comes out? Orange juice, of course. Now, here is a harder question. Why does orange juice come out? Orange juice comes out because that is what is inside, of course. The same goes for you. What comes out of you when you get the squeeze? Is it fear and negativity, or is it positivity and joy?
When you have a terrible day on the course, and you make one mistake after another after, what emotions come out? If you put the emotions of negativity, anger, and de-motivation into your system on a daily basis, when the pressure is on, this is what will come out. The bad days will give you the squeeze and you will release your dominant negative emotions on the course.
But, if you make positivity, joy, and compassion as your dominant habit and have these emotions on a daily basis, then, when the squeeze is on, you will showcase these emotions on the course.
It is so easy to be confident and positive when times are good. Unfortunately, as with life and golf, there are many bad things that will happen to you. But, if you put the right ingredients inside with doses of positive self-talk, images of greatness, and thoughts of gratitude, when you get squeezed, the only thing that will come out is the juice of success.
Dr. Gregg Steinberg is a professor of human performance at Austin Peay State University. He has been the mental game coach for many PGA Tour players. He is the author of the Washington Post bestselling business book, Full Throttle. Dr. Steinberg is a motivational business speaker who speaks to businesses about mental toughness and overcoming adversity. If you are interested in have him speak to your group, please contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org. You can see more about him at www.drgreggsteinberg.com.
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