Day 8 - Resistance, How To Combat It Like Tiger Woods

Hopefully, from the last post, you have an idea of what Resistance is and how to spot it. So the next question has to be, “Well, what can we do about it?”.

The answer: become a professional (not as in doctors, lawyers, and other professions, but as in the “ideal").


What is a professional?


We all have traits of being a professional. If you have a job you already exhibit these traits.

  • You show up every day
  • You show up no matter what
  • You physically stay on the job all day
  • You accept remuneration for your labor
  • You don't over-identify with your job
  • You master the technique of your job
  • You have a sense of humor about your job
  • You receive praise and blame in the real world


Pressfield uses the story of Tiger Woods at the 2001 Masters to explain what a professional is. With four holes to go on the last day of the Masters, someone in the gallery snapped a camera shutter at the top of Tiger’s backswing. Tiger was able to pull up mid-swing and back off the shot. That wasn’t even the crazy part. He glared at the gallery, recomposed himself, stepped back to the ball, and struck it right down the middle. What can be learned from this?


1. Tiger didn't react reflexively.


He, as Pressfield says, “Didn’t allow an act that by all right should have provoked an automatic response of rage to actually produce that rage.” He was in control of his emotions and he was in control of his reactions.


2. Tiger didn’t take it personally.


Tiger easily could have taken this as an attack against him personally. He could have said this cameraman was out to get him. He could have played the victim.


I see this amateur move everywhere right now (mainly in myself). We think the world revolves around us. We think every comment, laugh, or joke is directed towards us. This is why I believe it is so hard for people to have civil discussion nowadays. We find a political party, sports team, or any other set of beliefs or values and we personally attach ourselves to them! Every attack on them is an attack on us. 


This is why arguments get so heated so quickly. We can’t afford to let our party down or admit that we may have backed the wrong horse. We can’t admit that maybe the other view has some valid beliefs as well or that our rival is just like us in that they grew up in a certain area or chose a certain school and now root for them. 


The amateur idolizes their point of view and demonizes any other.


3. Tiger didn’t use this as an excuse to fail.


You know the type. Always an excuse in their back pocket as to why they couldn’t do the thing they set out to do. Tiger could have groaned and sulked and used this as an excuse. But he didn’t. He knew he still had everything he needed to make the shot. He could either keep or let go of his anger and make the shot.


4. Tiger got back to work.


Most of all, he stepped back up. He took the shot. 

“Tomorrow morning the critic will be gone, but the writer will still be there facing the blank page. Nothing matters but that he keeps working. Short of a family crisis or the outbreak of World War III, the professional shows up. He learns to recognize envy-driven criticism and to take it for what it is: the supreme compliment. The critic hates most that which he would have done himself if he had the guts."