Four Days of Pressure - No Problem

In this post we take a look at Jordan Spieth’s recent record-breaking win in the US Masters at Augusta - and explore what it takes to tackle an extended challenge and overcome all the odds.

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So, just to get the proverbial ball rolling, here’s something interesting to mull over before you start reading: Jordan Spieth was only 21 when he won the US Masters on Sunday at a very challenging Augusta. He took the lead from Day 1 of the competition making him only the fifth winner to ever do so, he’s the second youngest winner at the event (after Tiger Woods), the only player to go 19 under par in the Masters AND he beat Phil Mickelson’s Masters’ birdie record by holing an amazing 26 of them.

Let that sink in. Then keep reading…

Now that we can all agree that his performance was nothing short of amazing, let’s look at the psychological approach and mental durability behind what got him the Green Jacket. How did he manage to stick out 4 days of incredibly grueling competition of the highest degree and still come out on top?

We think the answer lies in his amazing ability to narrow and broaden his scope of attention based on the requirements of each challenge presented. In our field we refer to it as the Spotlight Theory of Attention, which makes reference to the skill of narrowing and broadening your field of attention like a beam of light. ‘Attention’ never dies completely, it simply switches its focus – and this is often where the crux of enhanced performance lies. The trick is to learn how to pay attention to the right thing at the right time. This trick is not as easy as it seems, with internal distractions (muscle fatigue, self-doubt and anxiety – to name a few) and external distractions (crowd noise, heckling or the sun in your eyes) working hard to upset the golf cart at any moment, dividing your focus and leading to a poor performance. It was exactly that ability of managing the stimuli and directing his focus appropriately that helped Jordan Spieth to lead from Day 1 and follow through with the win.

As he recently commented so accurately on his Facebook page: “It’s about just throwing those out of my mind, not worrying about it, not caring, setting a goal and being patient with the opportunities that are going to come my way.”

The new US Masters Champion has spoken. Need we say more?