I caddied this past week at The Greenbrier Classic for Gary Christian and even caddied a practice round with the Tom Watson!!! One lesson on mental toughness that was reaffirmed was the power of commitment. However, a major hang-up that gets in the way is having too many options. We may think having options is good, but the opposite is true, when we remove all alternatives, it actually increases our level of commitment.
For instance, when we go out to dinner and the menu has a 30 choices of a dish, it is actually more difficult to make a decision than if the menu only had ten choices. Research has even confirmed that having fewer options actually saves us mental energy and helps us make a conclusion.
There was no power when I arrived the Sunday before The Greenbrier Classic, which meant in this case, cold showers. THERE WAS NO OTHER OPTION. I took cold showers four straight days. Completely cold water driven, I actually felt like a Navy Seal. In the past, I have advocated taking a one-minute cold shower as a way to build mental toughness, but this was way different.
The power returned on Friday, so I could now take a regular shower if I chose, but I was in the Spartan mind-set, so I still opted for taking a cold shower. However, now it was mentally challenging because all I had to do was turn the knob a bit and I could get some relief, which I unfortunately did…I relented because the option was now there and I was not mentally disciplined enough to ignore the slightly warmer water.
BURN THE SHIPS:
When Spanish explorer Cortez arrived to the new world, he commanded his 500 men to burn the 11 ships. Burning the ships has become symbolic with, sink or swim, win or die. When we are provided different choices; if one does not work out, we think the other option is better, which affects our commitment. If we are not 100% committed to what we are doing, then it becomes too easy to bail and sail back home. Burn the ships!