What I often find are young people who are afraid to talk about their dreams or to even form them, because they are afraid to look silly if they fail. They are young with the world in front of them, but they are already protecting what they have instead of leveraging it for more. Greatness is painful. You can't avoid pain if you want to be great. We sit on the couch and watch the player win the green jacket and marvel at the game, the nerve, the toughness and the poise. We haven't seen the hours on the range, the rounds played in the rain, the putting in the hallway until midnight, the tears over shooting 80 or losses in playoffs, the weight training hours after returning from a long road trip, the ruined relationships with non-believers, the missed parties because of a morning tee time, or any of the heartbreaks and sacrifices needed to achieve greatness. Those who achieve greatness have been one-minded for a long time. Greatness looks easy, because we see the finished product. Greatness is only achieved by those willing to work, willing to invite pain and failure into their world, willing to hang it out there and say out loud what they want.
We see the finished product who wins the big check. What we should see is a young person who dared to dream. In my opinion, if you can't talk about what you want, you won't get it. If you are afraid of saying you want to play on the Curtis Cup team or that you want to win a U.S. Open, you certainly won't be up for the challenge when the moment is in front of you. If you do dare to dream of winning a green jacket, your path is set. The dream will be the first domino in a long chain. Each domino will be significant. You will need to be a great putter. You will need to be able to shape shots. You will have to chip off of tight lies. You will have to hit flops and bump and runs. You will have to become a great bunker player. You will have to learn to manage your emotions. You will have to learn to play position golf on tough courses. You will have to learn to control your nerves. You will have to learn to win at every level on the route to the Masters. You will have put yourself in position after 18, 36 and 54 holes. There they are - multiple dominoes in front of you waiting to fall. They fall because of your momentum. They fall because you keep moving forward. They fall because the last domino is the one you seek to topple.
What is your next event? Are you playing it to win? If not, you are a stepping stone for someone else who is. If your goal is to finish top ten or make the cut, you will be lucky to do those things. Dare to dream. Play to win. Figure out how to get it done. If you do, celebrate and move on. If you don't, figure out what held you back and get busy working on it. Learn from your failures and make adjustments going forward. Don't be a doubting Thomas who needs to see results to believe. Instead, have faith in yourself and your abilities. Believe in the dream, not the past. Believe in yourself, not others. "Blessed are those who have not seen, yet have still believed."