Tiger Woods played 23,789 holes on the PGA Tour without shooting double-digits on a single hole.
Then he teed off on the 12th hole at Augusta National Golf Club during the final round of the 2020 Masters.
Three balls in the water and one awkward bunker shot later, the defending Masters champion carded a 10—the worst hole of his professional career.
Then in typical Tiger fashion, he birdied five out of the last six holes.
For most of us, golf isn’t our job. It’s what we wish we were doing instead of work. We still have days—whether at work, with our family, or on a par–3 hole—where we shoot a miserable seven over. We have days where we’re seven strokes in and we’re not on the green yet.
It’s hard to come back from that. It gets in your head. We focus on our mistakes and discount our successes, like who we are at our worst is somehow a more accurate indication of who we really are.
Psychologists call this the emotional refractory period, the amount of time it takes you to process the emotion of an event. Within the refractory window, we don’t just relive the memories of what happened, we relive the emotions. Simply put, we’re stuck in the past.
We are not defined by our past, but by how we perceive our past. The events are set in stone. No amount of regret, angst, or self-beratement can change what happened.
What we can change is our perspective on the past.
Tiger didn’t let that hole change how he viewed himself. He knew what he was still capable of. He showed the world that he was still one of the greatest golfers of all time.
He put the 12th hole behind him and looked on to 13. Birdie. Par. Four more birdies.
Going five under on six holes is a feat any golfer would love to accomplish. It’s rare. Doing it right after you shoot seven over on a single hole is unheard of.
That is discipline.
That is letting go and refusing to let your past dictate your future.
Accept what happened. Acknowledge it. It happened. Bad shots happen. So do good ones, if you don’t hold on to the bad ones. So you made a bad shot. Learn why Then put it behind you. Make another one.
Some of the best shots we make are when we’re scrambling after making a bad shot.