The King has passed. Long live The King.
Condolences go out to the friends, family, and fans of seven-time major champion Arnold Palmer on behalf of Power of Positivity. The golf legend was eighty-seven years old. Let us celebrate his life from quotes direct from the horse’s mouth, using no dog legs. These life lessons can be applied to any activity or profession, so pay close attention to one of the truest darlings ever to grace an 18th or 19th hole.
18 Life Lessons To Learn From Arnold Palmer
The Front 9:
1. “Golf is a puzzle without an answer. I’ve played the game for 50 years and I still haven’t the slightest idea of how to play.”
This comes from his humble background of Latrobe, Pennsylvania. No expert has all the answers all of the time and can become stuck in certain situations, no matter how seasoned the expert is. Therefore, if you do not have the answer you seek, do not be disheartened.
2. “It’s a funny thing, the more I practice the luckier I get.”
This could not have been better put. When you do something on a consistent level, you raise your performance to a whole different level. If you do not get to your target straight away, keep going. You will get there, no matter how slowly you go to achieve your goals.
3. “The road to success is always under construction.”
Never to rest on his laurels, Gary kept on playing tournament golf until as late as 2005, a full 50 years after his first tournament win in the 1955 Canadian Open. We, too, must keep playing our natural game and keep forging the right road designed for us, by us. Both success and failure are part of the road, but the journey on the road is the essence of life.
4. “I’ve always made total effort, even when the odds seemed entirely against me. I never quit trying; I never felt that I didn’t have a chance to win.”
Ah, the never-say-die attitude. A winner always believes that they can win, even though the situation seems hopeless. All greats have persistence in their locker and it is something that is not taught, for that special something is engrained within the quintessential winner. Is it inside YOU?
5. “On the Old Course at St. Andrews: This is the origin of the game, golf in its purest form, and it’s still played that way on a course seemingly untouched by time. Every time I play here, it reminds me that this is still a game.”
This quote is a beauty. Life is not meant to be taken so seriously, yet we are sometimes in awe of how life is so much greater and older than us. It serves to remind us how lucky we are, regardless of problems in our lives or in the lives of loved ones. This was The King’s version of looking up at the stars, such was his love for golf and its traditions.
6. “Hit it hard, go find it and hit it hard again.”
If you are going to do something, do it with all the gusto you can muster. Only you can define how much effort you put into whatever you do, so do not do it half-hearted. Doing things in a half-hearted manner is par for the course, but those who put their hearts and souls into what they do get the green jacket of life.
7. “Success in golf depends less on strength of body than upon strength of mind and character.”
Winners create their reality before anyone else has seen them lift the trophy. They do not let any obstacles, internal or external, get in the way of distorting or destroying that reality. This helped Palmer claim no less than 62 PGA Tour wins and 10 Senior PGA Tour championships, the last of which being in 1988 at the Crestar Classic.
8. “What people may find in poetry or art museums, I find in the flight of a good drive.”
This wonderfully describes his love and passion for golf. To him, the golf swing was a thing of beauty, just like playing the piano was for Mozart or painting was for Leonardo da Vinci. On the links, he was quite an artist with any club in his hand. This shows us that passion is a staple for success in whichever field.
9. “Concentration, confidence, competitive urge, capacity for enjoyment.”
It is Palmer’s C-Force recipe. Without focus on what we have to do to win, it is impossible to win. Without the confidence that we will win, it is impossible to win. Without being up against many others wanting the same thing, it is impossible to win. As covered in #8, without love for what you do, it is impossible to win.
The Back 9:
10. “I have a tip that can take 5 strokes off anyone’s golf game, it’s called an eraser.”
Having a sense of humour always makes the journey more enjoyable – win, lose or draw. If only we could use the eraser to undo mistakes we have made in the past. However, erasing it would be erasing your education in this life. Being able to laugh of good times and laugh off the bad times puts colour into a dull picture and a bunker shot straight at the pin.
11. “Everyone I built a course for thinks they have the best golf course in the world and I’m very pleased and proud of that.”
Of course, it is always nice to have your work appreciated by others and ol’ Arnie was no exception. This was one of the ways of giving back to the very game that gave him a platform. Just imagine your work being used as a measuring stick in your field, close your eyes and really see it in your mind’s eye. How would you feel?
12. “Putting is like wisdom – partly a natural gift and partly the accumulation of experience.”
In this part of golf, what is for certain is that you have to think to succeed. However, is putting an art or a science? According to this quote by Palmer, it is both. Naturally, a golfer will be able to draw experience from similar putts in the past, but each putt is like a drop of water, different. Just like each situation you come across in life, some may be very similar but never the same. Hence, Palmer’s use of “partly a natural gift”.
13. “I would have liked to have won more golf tournaments. But I wouldn’t sacrifice my life. I’ve enjoyed it. I’d love to do it again the same way.”
This is what makes The King a real winner. The journey made him appreciate what he did and how he did it, with no regrets. He enjoyed his experience, his knowledge, his successes, and he did it with the best of company like Jack Nicklaus and South African Gary Player.
14. “My search for ways to improve my touch has never ended. We players have tried a lot of different things and compared notes. Little fads would set in.”
In the business world, this is known as “kaizen” or “continuous improvement”. In Japanese, kaizen means “change for the better”, with kai meaning “change” and zen meaning “good” in literal terms. We must always look to better ourselves in every which way. When we improve, everything else follows suit. Arigato!
15. “Golf is deceptively simple and endlessly complicated; it satisfies the soul and frustrates the intellect. It is at the same time rewarding and saddening – and it is without a doubt the greatest game mankind has ever invented.”
A par 5 quote this time in terms of length from our Professor Palmer. This one reminds me of love, as the comparison of irrationality is very similar – yet no quite the same, as golf is a game and love is not! Both can have a rollercoaster of emotions and play on the heart-strings of the most hardened of men. What is clear here is that the two were intertwined in Palmer’s eyes.
16. “Winning isn’t everything, but wanting it is.”
It is all about desire, it is all about hunger, it is all about the will to win. How badly do you want to win? More than Ed and Ted? If so, you have half the battle set. We all dislike losing so we do all that it takes to win, unless you suffer from a lack of motivation, which makes you a loser by default.
17. “You must play boldly to win.”
This is a hole-in-one at the 17th at the TPC Sawgrass if you hit it just right. As Aristotle taught an adolescent Alexander The Great that “fortune favours the brave”, it is another tenet that made our hero Arnold so successful on and off the course. Do you dare to win?
18. “A lot of people are afraid of winning. I was afraid I might not win.”
Fear can really hold us back, especially when we need to pull something out of the bag. Excuses aplenty for the ones who have already lost in their minds. Here, Palmer is showing us that we can use that same fear to our advantage, by fearing the worst possible outcome. This is the way he putts his way to the championship by visualising what he wants, instead of what he does not want.
After this last win by the late great Arnold Palmer, please join us in saying to the first of “The Big Three” to do so (and hope the other two stay with us a while longer yet!):
19. Enjoy the clubhouse, Arnold!