I’m currently reading a book about golfer Tiger Woods. Warren and I are big golf fans, and I would love to see Tiger play one day. I’ve found myself bothered by his father, Earl Woods, in this book.
To begin, it is an unauthorized biography. It does not paint a pretty picture of the father that Earl was. He was aggressive, a bully, and disrespectful to many people. He pushed Tiger into greatness.
The book tells the story of Tiger’s life. It paints the picture that Tiger had no choice whatsoever in being a golf icon. His father had designed it from the moment Tiger was born. He practised multiple hours a day his entire life. He wasn’t allowed to do the things that the other kids did; he had to practice golf.
How do you react when someone pushes you? I don’t mean pushes your buttons to get a reaction but pushes you to do more, achieve more, reach higher.
Tiger responded precisely the way his father wanted him to respond and has become one of the greatest golfers of all time.
[ctt template=”3″ link=”m2Zud” via=”yes” ]If you were “pushed” the same way Tiger Woods was “pushed” would you have responded the same way? Read here about being “pushed”[/ctt]
“Pushing” can come in many forms. It can be simple encouragement, like when your parents pushed you to take music lessons. It can come from colleagues, who try to push you into a new project, telling you that they know you can do it.
It can even come from someone telling you that you can’t do something.
When I was in high school, I took all of my subjects at the advanced level, including math. During the first semester of my first year, I was struggling a bit with some of the concepts, and I was not doing as well as I was used to doing. Perhaps it was the excitement of high school; perhaps it was just more difficult, but I struggled, and that wasn’t really my norm.
My math teacher took me aside and suggested that I lower the level of my math class from advanced to general. I was mortified! I was smarter than that, and I certainly wasn’t a quitter.
Fortunately, I was able to turn that teacher’s suggestion into a challenge—a kind of push—that prompted me to set the bar higher for myself and reach my goals.
I began working twice as hard. I studied, and I studied more. I got all my math assignments in on time. I didn’t give up.
And I finished all of my high school subjects, including math, at the advanced level.
Let’s look at another example: applying for a job. We know that when we apply for jobs, we will typically apply for one that is slightly above our skill and pay level. That’s normal.
But how do you react when you don’t get the job? Does it make you want to back down and apply for jobs that you are only qualified for? Or does it challenge you to find out why you didn’t get the job, and to improve?
Do you need to be a success for the push to work, or does the push work even when you aren’t successful?
[ctt template=”3″ link=”vg3dD” via=”yes” ]Do you need to be a success for “pushing you to greatness” to work, or will failure work too?[/ctt]
Tiger didn’t win every golf tournament he was entered into as a child (nor as an adult), but he used that “failure” to push harder. Wining the 2019 Masters after many years of less than “Tiger-level” golf was an example of how that negative push made him try harder. The media was very hard on Tiger. It motivated him instead of demotivating him.
When someone offers you constructive criticism, do you use that push to react or respond?
Let’s assume someone tells you that you aren’t a very good listener and that you tend to interrupt others. Do you walk away thinking that person is wrong, and they don’t know what they are talking about? Do you use an excuse and say, “That’s just the way I am,” or do you take that push and use it to help yourself?
It’s better for you in the long-run to embrace that push and figure out what you can do to be a better listener. Don’t assume that the person’s constructive criticism has no validity. Use their push to become better.
It isn’t easy being pushed by others. We tend to react negatively, instead of seeing the push as an opportunity. I reacted negatively when I read how Earl Woods used to push the young Tiger Woods. I didn’t see it the way that Tiger obviously saw it.
But if we see pushes for what they are—challenges and opportunities—we can use them to help achieve our goals.