Flow Golf Podcast TV Episode#10 / Golf Mental Game
Learn golf mental game through perspective of Cedric Dumont
Cedric Dumont, thank you so much for joining us on our podcast dealing with golf mental game. This obviously is a special episode. We are so excited to have you here. I just want to give an introduction for all the listeners Obviously, we’re going to dive into your story, your journey, your lessons, your experiences. But obviously you’re a skydiver based jumper, wingsuit pilot, author You graduated in high performance psychology.
There’s a long, long list of things there are not to forget. You also play some golf, and I believe you claimed a spot in the Belgium national team, which is incredible as well. So there’s going to be some great stories there. Great experiences. We’ll talk in depth about your career, including the research that you’ve done into Fair Blow and many, many more things.
So I want to start with Cedric, if that’s okay. Start actually with a bit around your book. Obviously, you provide inside your book three different power skills so I just wanted to ask about those power skills and for you to define them and then how you feel they can be trained because I know we’re going to dive into conversation about growth mindset. I know that you believe that anything can be trained.
So I would imagine that those three power skills you would say can be trained in many different ways. So we have the limitless mindset, we have the laser focus, and then we also have obviously creating trust. So what do they mean to you? And then how do you feel they could be trained? Well, yeah, I think I’m convinced it can be trained, but it’s always tell people it’s very easy to understand.
I think even a child of 87 can understand, but it’s very hard to apply. And that’s the whole thing about, I think, applied sports psychology and mental training, mental strength, emotion, even emotional well-being and emotional intelligence. We know, we know the path, but we’re not walking the path So I think it takes a lot of. And my starting point is always the same.
And it’s not my starting point. I would say it’s the starting point. It’s all about self awareness. I think you can train everything if you are curious enough, if you are open, if you are optimistic, if you believe in something and so on, of course you can train your mindset and your mindset. We all know that it’s, it’s, it’s going to define success or failure and it’s very easy to explain.
I think anyone can understand that, but it’s not very tangible. So, you know, if you train for a marathon or if you’re going to hit a thousand balls it’s very tangible. You know, you have to run ten K, 20 to 30 K, and then at one point you’re going to run 40 K, technically very easy to understand if you want to be good at something goal, for example, you’re going to hit balls and you’re going to train, but it’s not enough I speak from experience, but so it’s yeah, it’s neuroplasticity.
Your brain is not a muscle, but you have to look at it as a muscle. And I think the more intention you put into and in the more self-awareness you create by it, it can be very confronting sometimes. But then you can then that’s the beginning. Absolutely right. I think self-awareness is obviously so important. We speak so much about goals, reinforcing the importance of goals you have to set them because that determines the process.
But ultimately, we also need in our current location, we need to know where we are right now in order to map that route between where we are and where we want to go. So that’s really, really not that. Yeah, sorry. For me, it’s all about being bold enough to ask yourself the right questions. Do you have the courage to identify your strength?
It’s easier than your weaknesses or I would say areas of development. And I think most importantly, and I think it applies to everyone, whether it’s elite sport or corporate. What is distracting me from reaching my goals? And that’s right. And a lot of time we all have distractions, which is very human. But a lot of times they control us and we’re not controlling them.
Sure. And with focus, you know, we have distractions. Paying attention to something that’s irrelevant in the moment is my focus, I believe is definitely a trainable skill. Now, I get to the point where I’ve never done this, so please, you’re doing a base job to take the risk and everything in that moment. Maybe it doesn’t always funnel attention to the present moment.
Golf being a slower moving sport. And we still want to funnel the attention to the present moment. And we go back to training. What do you do? Off the golf course, off the base jumping. That would be trainable for focus. Well, you can explain it in different ways. Let me go back to the beginning, yes. I started playing golf when I was nine in Bel Air in Florida.
Actually, I was at Disney World with my dad and my parents were playing. But my dad had lunch at a golf resort. And I went to the pro shop and the guy gave me a club and a few balls. And that’s where it all started. When I want to say this is that when I was a kid I don’t think I was.
And back then, there was not a lot of talk about that, especially in my environment. I was not mentally strong and understood golf mental game to some degree. So one more proof that it’s something you can really train and learn. I was not born mentally strong. I was emotionally not graded. I was technically average. But because I started playing when I was nine I was good but not good enough.
That’s why I had to do crazy things afterward. You know what I mean? With this in golf or at and like most of those sports, you have a choice. You can either be focused or not in a high risk environment, and especially my discipline, there is no choice. You have to be focused in order to minimize the risks and maximize your success.
And it’s a question literally of life and death right so you have to be honest. So I think I’ve learned and that’s my point here. I had to learn it. I had to be focused. I had no choice. There’s not an option out today. I’m not focused. I’m going to multitask and I’m not at the moment. No, you have to be in golf.
You can be mentally fatigued. I see this a lot not talking about me, but if you’re not physically on top after 12, 13 holes, you get exhausted. You know, it’s better than me. And then the mind starts following your physique. Sure. And then out of focus and you basically lose it anyway. It’s something. Yes.
It’s something you can train, but in an extreme environment, it’s something you have to have, right? Yeah. And I’m always looking for what triggers focus, right? And I understand the risk in that moment is you. It makes you pay attention, right? Golf being a little more slow moving. There could be risk on a shot over water. Yet you know how women are always talking about something that’s consistent in a routine that would bring attention to the present moment.
And you know, using that at what you use now on the golf course so I’m not going to say it’s life or death. I don’t know if we’re going to put that frame on it. Right. No, but when you are playing your best golf and you’re focused where and we could say it’s a choice, I get that.
I just believe that people have defaults and they have under certain environments that distractions may interfere more often than others. We always talk about our pre shot routine, right? A pre-show routine is supposed to funnel that focus into the present moment. Is there anything that you’ve taken from the action sports that we would say focus into a pre shot routine for four golf Yes, because it’s very comparable.
I have a pre jump routine and I’m using it all the time. To go into what we call the zone or the flow. So it’s like unconscious awareness.
Hyper awareness and it’s going to bring me like you say, it’s going to funnel you to the present moment because we can talk for hours about focus performance, neurochemistry flow and so on and we can make it highly complicated or you can bring it to a very simple basic idea of high performance and consciousness and self awareness and creativity and making the right decisions happen in the present moment.
So for me, it comes down to a very simple idea of how can I stay, how can I go, and then how can I stay in the present moment knowing that there are maybe six, 7 minutes between each shot where my mind can wander and go everywhere, right in and before my before I’m going to leap off a cliff with a wingsuit, my mind can go anywhere as well.
But again, I don’t have a choice. I have to minimize the risk. So I’m going to do everything. It’s a mind game and golf. And when I tell people I play golf, Kumalo You play golf has nothing to do with what you do. No, no. It has everything to do because it’s a mind game. The risks are different, but it’s a mind game.
And that’s why I think I love it. I’m obsessed because it’s all about filling your brain with positive thoughts and emotions and emptying your brain with what can be negative and prevents you from playing your best absolute surgery in a golf sense. Obviously, what people are worried about, the fear of failure, almost failing on that specific shot or fear of what could go wrong.
Essentially from your perspective, it is fear of death, I guess, because it’s that extreme. It gets to a point where you’re sat there and it is ultimately fear of death. So I’ve heard you say in multiple other podcasts on your TEDx talk, I think that a lot of people think that you wouldn’t fear death. You don’t fear death, but actually you do.
You do still fear that, I guess. And you tell me if I’m wrong, but you kind of feel the fear and you move through the fear to find that flow state. So my question would be, how could golfers apply that to their pre routine? How can they apply that to their fear of failure? It’s not the extremity that is on your side, in your sport, but it’s still the same process they need to go through.
They need to recognize the fear, be able to fear, but actually utilize that to push them forward and move them into a state of life. Yes, that’s yeah, that’s exactly what yeah. I totally agree. But I think it’s very connected with, I think, life in general. And when you look at people who are excelling, who are taking risks, who are willing to push the limits in anything, not only in my discipline, can be in business, can be an elite sport.
They are accepting failure. They are even embracing failure. And they look at it and that’s very American. And that’s why I really love the culture of entrepreneurship, the competitive culture of the US. You embrace failure if you look for investments in Europe and you failed, they’re going to tell you, go back home, you failed. If you look for investment in the US and you haven’t failed you, they’re going to tell you go back and fail five times and then you come back because that’s going to be interesting.
So it’s all about and you’ve heard it before. I’m not going to. I’ve heard it from many players, but it’s all about accepting your misfits, which I still have a hard time doing well, we’ll work on that. We’ll work on a post shot routine with you. Cedric Oh, no, I’m joking. But of course, I’ve learned a lot from my yeah, from, from my, my job, my, my main discipline that I’m bringing back into my golf game.
This said, I think if you don’t have the right technique, if you don’t have the right physique, you can be mentally strong. You’re not going to go where you want to go. So you need foundation. I know that I like some techniques and I can be as positive, optimistic in the present moment. Name it. If I don’t have this the right technique and I’m not able to repeat, you know, I don’t have to tell you that.
But to repeat the same golf swing every time I’m going to miss some. But to go back to your question, how I think it’s about being able to accept failure and what I really like is to detach myself from a final outcome I’ve heard many players saying, if you don’t think about the 18th hole, you think about every shot, the next shot, next shot, and at one point it’s going to bring you to a two to a win.
You’ve probably seen the last two holes of Victor Holland in Dubai. Yes. Well, everything you said, he was a bit behind and then bam, he’s playing shot by shot and he was there. Amazing goosebumps one of the biggest things I think so many golfers struggle with is their commitment level when they’re about to execute on the shot.
And from your perspective, again, when you’re jumping out planes, when you’re getting to a point where you’re going to do a base jump of buildings, very space, your commitment level, I mean, it has to be the ultimate commitment. As you jump, I’ve heard you say again, that you sometimes take a step back and you don’t jump under any circumstances unless you have 100% commitment.
So I guess my question is, how do you create that 100% commitment? And is there anything that golfers can utilize to apply to pre shot rotations? Same level. There are many factors of course, being well prepared, being focused, as we said, having the right pre shot routine that fits you best. Having self confidence. I work a lot with intuition.
I think it’s something you can really work on your internal dialog, you visualize everything. There are many tools, there are many techniques. But at one point and that’s all about basically jumping or hitting a ball or making these shots. I think you have to let go of the need to control everything because if you resume what is flow for me flow is being fully immersed in what you do, being fully absorbed in your action, and at the same time letting go of everything.
It’s thinking without thinking. Like there are many books on, there are still good books on that, but at one point you’re not. It’s unconscious competence. You know, the four levels of. Exactly. And you just go for it. And whatever happened, you I really like the book, The Subtle Art of Not Giving Up. Yeah. Because it’s all about having the right focus and it’s all about detaching yourself from this.
I want to be perfect. I need to be certain of the final outcome. I know. Just do it. And in reaction, you will discover that it’s going well, not going well. Whatever. I mean, look, on the tour, they don’t win every weekend, right? But I mean, you probably know better than me, but you have 100 guys who have potential to win, correct?
Yeah. Well, some swim, right? I kind of like 99%. And you’re one of the best to ever play the game. So I mean, immediately those figures, they tell the time. So yeah, I want a tap into something. A word that we threw around just a little bit is curiosity I know in my life curiosity is a main flow trigger.
It gets me very interested in the present moment because I’m interested in it. What I’m referencing in this case is, you know, working with Collin Morikawa from an early age, I believe Curiosity was one of his biggest strengths. I believe he was always learning to he wanted to learn, asking good questions, willing to make mistakes, getting an immediate feedback loop to say, hey, I want to make this change.
And it wasn’t, you know, I’m a failure. It was, oh, that didn’t work. And moving from there, you know, I’ve heard that curiosity was built in a little boy with you, with your parents, as you learn things and to me, it opens up people to try things. I would love your feedback on how we can use curiosity in our mindset training and obviously with golf, how well you can define curiosity in many ways.
But I think it’s for me, I, I would define it as keeping your whole life a student mindset being open for new even if, if, if I see someone who is maybe not as good or has less experience, I’m still going to be very open. Oh yeah. And show me I’m yeah, I would be glad to learn something.
And I think it’s being open to change as simple as that and being open for new techniques, questioning yourself, acquiring new skills all the time. It’s being a student, all your life. Yeah. It’s not because you finished high school or university. That’s okay. I’m done. I’m going to have a job and I’m okay. I think complacency is little.
Complacency in my environment is literally lethal in a corporate environment or elite sport. It’s the fastest way to obsolescence so I yeah, I use this, this, this idea all the time, especially when I have a corporate speaking engagements.
Curiosity, of course, is leading you to learn new skills. And these new skills are going to make you better and you’re going to grow as a human being, whether it’s in a golf environment, whether it’s in your job as a father, as a partner, whatever.
For me, I have a very global approach. I have a very holistic approach to everything. If you can apply to golf, you can apply to your golf as a life lesson. We all know that because it’s life and. Right. Yeah. And I love what you said is that it certainly can be about an outcome. We want to get better at something, shoot lower scores.
Yet I like the holistic idea that this curiosity is going to make me grow as a person, which now helps me as a parent and a spouse. And, and so on and so forth. And I think that’s where a lot of golfers we work with, a lot of competitive golfers that are just locked in to score is their identity.
It’s only about the result. It’s short term fixes to get there. And I think curiosity, like you said, kind of broadens this, that maybe you have to look under that rock and that’s going to help maybe out and be aware and be vulnerable and understand your weaknesses and all that stuff. So curiosity to me is learning, but I think there’s that other element of it’s okay to admit you’re not good at everything.
And some people want to protect their identity so much like I don’t want to admit I’m bad at this and I think that’s a detriment. How do you do you and I know that’s part of the growth mindset, fixed mindset stuff, but you said it is perfect if you can still tie in curiosity to an end goal.
Some people are very driven by that end goal and yet still teach them that it’s okay to be vulnerable, it’s okay to make mistakes but I want to know about how you do that in the event action in a sports arena.
When you do make a mistake, you get hurt. I mean, to me there’s a fine line of I could be curious and creative, but I got to prove concepts here pretty quick.
Yeah. Let me let me start. But yeah, I think it’s for me, it has to do with ego, it has to do with the fear of being judged. Yeah. It’s the fear of losing your reputation. And I see this every day in any type of organization or any type of environment. People don’t like to be judged.
We don’t like to be judged. So we don’t want to be, be, appear strong and good at everything. And, and that’s there is a I think there is for me, the future of a lot of things. It’s about curiosity, but it’s also about humility. And there is a very fine line between self-confidence. Which is great. And you need it in arrogance.
And I always tell people, don’t go there. And to go back to my environment where you have a lot at stake, like two high consequences. I’ve seen many people get hurt or even die because they were arrogant. They knew they felt they knew everything. They thought they were the man. And invincible. And it’s very easy to go there, believe me.
It’s very easy. At one point you have a few seasons behind you, you are the man. You have kind of a status in the community. And yeah, nothing can happen. I know everything is a big mistake. I have a friend who is an instructor in the Belgian Air Force. Yeah, we have an Air Force in Belgium. I see you smiling, but so oh, yeah.
Oh, no. That was a bad joke anyway. Yeah, we have F-16s from the seventies. But anyway, when he has a student who is ready to fly on a fighter jet, the first thing he tells them is the day you think you’re a great pilot. It’s the day it’s become very dangerous. So stay in my environment. I like to tell people that if you want to make a long career, stay below your skills.
Interest. Interesting. And I don’t know if it’s comparable with a goal if you don’t want to stay below your skills, but what I mean is, uh, you know, where you’re, know where you are and they’re there’s always talk about the comfort zone. And for me, outside of the comfort zone, it’s not an income zone, it’s a learning zone.
And if you go outside of the learning zone, you go in the red zone and the red zone. For me, it’s arrogance, lack of humility, and a fixed mindset. Just so there is a good, a good balance between the comfort zone in the red zone, you want to be in the learning zone all the time. That’s the student mindset. Definitely.
Cedric, I would say you’ve probably been able to stay in that learning zone because of the number of times you’ve reinvented yourself. So you’ve moved into obviously you’re an author, you’ve moved into keynote speaker and you’ve moved into performance psychology, you’ve moved into so many different arenas, you’ve almost had to start each journey again. You’ve had to start from the bottom so many times and work your way back up.
So has that kept your ego low? When you go back into some of these extreme sports, into some of the stuff that well, well, you don’t have a high ego, basically. I don’t think I had to start from the bottom because maybe I didn’t make it in golf as I wished I had. Yeah, but I took so many skills with me that I learned when I was a teenager, like focus, discipline, training, waking up early to do something and name.
It’s simple stuff, but you take all your life with you and that you can again, you can apply this to everything and I’m coming back on curiosity. If you stay curious you can learn anything. Everything I’ve done in my life was never planned right. It’s very funny, but it was never planned. And I’ve always looked unconsciously and I’ve always embraced uncertainty for a lot of people, and it’s very human.
We look at uncertainty as an issue, so we don’t go. Basically we don’t chase or dream because it’s not certain where I am going to go? You know, I think giving up on looking for certainty is the best way to give up on your dreams. So for me, uncertainty has always been a way to stay relevant, to reinvent myself unconsciously, but a little bit consciously as well and to stay curious.
And I’m repeating myself maybe, but I think curiosity is yeah, it’s I’m not saying it’s the main thing, but it’s, it’s, it’s this is. Yeah, it’s definitely something new here, it is a consistent skill. And I would call it a skill or focus on top performers. I remember hearing a story of Kobe Bryant, and apparently he was like a serial cold caller.
So he would call on Arianna Huffington, founder of the Huffington Post, and he would ask her about different leadership concepts and bits like that. People like why you call in Arianna Huffington. You’re a basketball player, and he’s just because there’s so much that I can learn from her and how I apply that to my teammates on the basketball court.
He spoke about learning from the environment, learning from nature, and also curiosity and I think the open mind to not just be curious in your field, but to be curious outside of your field. And that’s one of the reasons we brought you on, Cedric, because we know for all of our listeners that there’s so much value and information that they can take from your life, your experiences that they can apply in their journeys through golf as well.
So I think that’s so important. It’s not just curiosity in your given field, but going external and finding new sources. Yeah, I think it’s about staying relevant and also being able to have a certain continuity in your career. And at one point, especially when you take a lot of risks, you have a lot of rewards. But the whole reward thing, it’s neurochemistry is decreasing after a while, but the risks are not decreasing.
So you have to look all ways. I think for a different way to enjoy what you do. Yeah. And yet you have to have satisfaction in a way. It’s simple, but it’s the truth right now. I know how you had a question, actually more about neurochemistry and about, you know, when you get the dopamine hits and everything like that.
And so, so how would I want you to be kind of a ghost? So I listen to quite a lot. Andrew Huberman. I know you, you obviously know him. You heard his staff. I’m sure you’ve had some interaction with him.
I know Rick has gone through the Flow Research Collective, but he speaks and it was on a recent podcast with Tom before you actually spoke a lot about essentially the impact of not having a dopamine balance and the impact that sometimes this imbalance of dopamine can have on people that do extreme sports to people that jump out planes, people that do the things you do, it can actually have a massive impact on the general life because
I am never going to get the same dopamine hit in any part of their life as what they do when they jump out of a plane. So it can actually lead to huge amounts of depression, huge amounts of anxiety, huge amounts of tough times in their life because they just can’t find the same thing. So I kind of wanted to ask that question.
And have you ever noticed that throughout your career and how do you manage that dopamine balance? How do you ensure that you’re not just constantly craving that next jump, that next extreme sport? Basically, yeah, it’s really interesting because I’ve, I’ve, I’ve, I’ve been through there. I still am. I think sometimes when I’m, I get bored when I don’t have this release of dopamine, serotonin, endorphin, all these what we call performance enhancing substances. I feel like it’s going to my heart.
It’s going to sound heart. I feel sometimes that my life has no sense so I’m, I’m, I think I’m very addicted. On the other hand, I have had a family since ten years now. So I had to, I think, to really minimize even more the risks because if you want to see your kids growing up you can die from anything.
I have people telling me, hey, you know, you’re going to die. Yeah, we all are going to die. It’s it’s that’s the truth. And it’s not because I would quit completely. I do it in a different way. You can ride a bike at 150 miles every day on the highway and you can ride your bike in a more anticipated manner.
And it’s the same for us, but it’s not because I’ve been asking myself this question a lot. It’s not because I quit that it’s a guarantee that I’m going to be healthy till 95 and at one point, you have to. I want to transmit my commitment to my kids as well. So you that’s. That’s who I am.
But, okay, it’s a long discussion. But yes, I’m very addicted to it and believe it or not, I think I can find it in other stuff in golf. And I see, I see. Yeah, I see you smiling and when I try to explain this to people it is like, yeah, yeah, sure. No. When I play a good round, when I have a huge satisfaction and I have no risk or less if but so I’m trying to have when I, I speak in front of people’s eyes and I can inspire and have an impact on people.
It’s a huge satisfaction. It’s like a performance. All right, so I’ve been trying to. Yes. To find this rush, if you want to call it like this, in different activities. But sometimes I yes, I crave it and it’s and I it’s I need to do this. Yeah, it’s weird, but yes, it’s really interesting because he talks about one of the most important skills for our generation with our phones, with all of these different things.
I mean, that’s the surface level compared to what you do. But he says one of the most important skills will be opening regulations of being able to self regulate your dog, really, because at the moment it’s not in our control it’s external to all control. You’ve got all of these large social media companies that ultimately are regulating our dopamine.
And for us to be able to self-regulate, that is really important. I guess that’s what you’re talking about there. You’re learning to regulate your domain by finding benefit and finding enjoyment and satisfaction in all these different areas. That isn’t quite the same. But they still give you that similar kind of response to jumping out planes and jumping off buildings and bits like that.
Interested Oh, yes, yes. And I have a lot of joy with my family. And when I see my son surfing or playing golf, it gives me a lot of satisfaction as well. So you’re growing as a human being. But it’s still I don’t think I could quit. And it sounds a bit like a drug addiction, like I’m not ready to quit.
Would you let your son or. He may already have, but would you let your son do some skydiving and jump in? Well, you know, I didn’t ask permission. I’d made my parents. I just did it. I wouldn’t, I would never push him. I’d rather go and play nine holes with him. Which I do almost every weekend.
I think he’s so. But I would never push him into it. No, it has to be very emerging. And he would have to ask me and almost begged me for show him. I’ve never brought him to anything. And he sees it on YouTube. He said he sees it on his friends or your dad is base jumping. He’s got a Red Bull hat and stuff.
Yeah, fine. But I’m still his dad and he sees me as a very normal human being. We go surfing together, we play golf together, and it’s fine of that. Yeah. Along those lines, so as coaches, we get parents. Who are they? They get their kids in the golf. The golf. The kid likes it. But then the parent says, Oh, you need to play in tournaments or something like that.
And I think they lose the intrinsic reasons of why they’re playing in the first place. And I think it’s something that I want to hear. From your perspective, on this is the the loss of the passion and the love for why they played it in the first place gets forced with competition and in here in the States, you know, scholarships for college and stuff like that is part of curiosity to me is always learning that that internal drive gets keeps getting fed.
Right. But a lot of people now at an early age I’m talking 12, 13, their goals and their attention becomes just extrinsic based. Yeah. Give me your idea on motivation and the kind of intrinsic extrinsic idea. I think it’s for me it’s really going back to basics. It’s remembering for yourself why you start with sports.
And it’s, it’s, it’s all about having the right purpose, it’s also what I call a purpose driven mindset. It’s basically the why and I think in difficult times when you have a difficult moment in your career as a golf player or any person go back to why did I start, why did I do this and why did I start and go back.
There’s a very nice story about a Brazilian soccer player. But before every big game, he was really visualizing his childhood and really going back to it was visualizing himself playing football on the beach in Brazil and with friends and basically going really back to the love of the sport. And that was a great way to end. I was part of his pre-game routine, but it was a great way for him.
And I think for anyone to basically feel like I love what I do and I know what I’m doing. And I think if everyone in every organization worldwide would think like this, the world would be a much better place. But there is only, I think, sustainable engagement and sustainable motivation. If you have, like you said, an intrinsic reason to do what you need to do and do what you do and train.
And you have to go back to the, the, the passion and the love. And, and it’s something I see with you and you see it as well. But with young athletes that get lost really quickly because of the pressure, it’s funny, I had a sometimes parent told me parents in any type of sport, they my kid is 15 or my kid is 12 and he’s very talented in soccer, golf, whatever and he needs a mental coach because he’s and, and what I’m saying most of the time is no, no, your kid doesn’t need a mental coach. You need a mental coach.
Outgrew. Yeah. Because they put so much pressure and I know it’s hard to keep the balance between being a dad and being a coach. Or because it’s very hard. I sit with my son to, to, to have the right balance between not pushing. But at the same time you want to stimulate their talent and there is a very thin line, you know.
Oh, exactly. But I see a lot of parents, and I think we all know that they project themself into their kid’s career. I haven’t made it. I love sports. I want to see my kid being the best in the world and the kid has no goal whatsoever. Don’t go and you basically make a very frustrated young adult. That’s a great point.
And I hope everybody here is that over and over again because in the short term, you can put pressure on a kid and he can start to play a little bit better, but it’s not sustainable. They get their independence when they’re in college and they say, I’m done, and now we have somebody that no longer plays golf.
That’s a whole other story. But like you just mentioned a frustrated young man or young woman who it’s like they never got to do what they love to do and are forced on that end. I want to turn a little bit more to the golf fan because I’m fascinated with what you’ve learned and how we apply it on the golf course, because sometimes these fears that we have on the golf course are certainly made up in our mind and sometimes they’re overblown.
Me hitting it into the water is obviously something I don’t want to do. But when we magnify it so much that it’s my identity and I’m embarrassing myself and what are people going to think about? Right. They’ve now taken what is okay, I’ve lost the ball out a penalty that’s the reality. And they blow it out of proportion.
I’m always fascinated with, you know, how I am and I talk a lot about cognitive reframing. How can we look at something different? I think people are already projecting that they’re going to hit a bad shot and then that emotional response is there before they even hit it. We talk about fear a lot. But isn’t it interesting that in golf we’re just, you know, we lose a little white ball and it’s like the end of the world?
I mean, how do you take it? How do you view golf when you have a challenging shot and there’s potential of consequences and all? How do you view it? Well, it depends. And it’s interesting because if you play alone, you don’t give a shit if you play with people that have never seen you playing before, it’s like a whole drama because what are they going to think?
You know, it’s yeah. If you play with friends and they’ve seen you playing really well, sometimes it’s okay. It’s acceptable. So what I mean here is that everything we do in life is systemic. It’s towards others we are. And it’s part of emotional wellbeing. We need recognition, we need status, we need this. It’s. Yeah, yeah, that’s, that’s very normal.
So that’s already one difference. And then how you want to maximize the success and minimize the fear and the fear of failure. Well, there are many techniques and we’ve been talking already about a few. I think for me, one of the main techniques I’m using whether in my environment or in, I think in life in general and golf is my internal dialog.
Who am I talking to myself? And we have a tendency and it’s again, a lack of self awareness. We’re being very hard on ourselves. And I see this and you know, it is better than me that a professional or even a good golf player, you miss a shot. And a lot of time you’re going to tell yourself, oh, I knew it it’s always the same on this hole or this type of shot.
I, I, I shot on the right or whatever. I missed this shot. I’m too short and unconsciously you are get trapped in a very negative way of thinking better. And it’s very hard to get out of it. So for me, it’s all about the goldfish theory. You’ve heard that before. Yeah, it’s all about. Okay, fine. Immediate feedback. Move on, and we go to the next shot, right.
Easy to say, but good luck. But again, I’m convinced that this is really something you can train with awareness. It’s for me that what I call the triple a it’s acceptance. I accept I made a bad shot. I’m aware of my emotions. I take action and I move on. Yes, and if you can systemize this thinking better and be very aware and very intentional with your internal dialog, and.
Okay, I missed a shot, but it’s fine. I’m in. Well, you have a, I think, a much better foundation, and you can rely much more on your skills, right? Yeah. I’m just to go further on the cognitive reframing. So I want to talk a little bit about perspective because do you find when you play golf for day to day, you kind of view things so differently because you compare it to jumping out of a plane you compare it to jumping off a building and things that may seem big to others or that we inflate you kind of you’re able to just look at them as smaller things, not as big of an issue because of that thing.
Is that true? And if it is or even if it’s not, how can we use some of that perspective changes in our daily lives to improve our perspective, to improve our thought process around some of these things that just every single day because you see it you see actually in golf and Rick may agree, but you hear so many stories of golfers that may have recently had children or golfers.
I think there was a story where Rory McIlroy actually flew out to Haiti for the earthquake years ago. Came back and he won the golf tournament. You hear the golfers have their children a week later, two weeks later, they’re winning events. Now, I’m not saying that it’s directly correlated, but I’m sure there’s some impact that it has an effect on their perspective and they come back with a completely different frame of mind.
So do you see that with what you do and how can we apply that to some of the smaller things that we come across in our days? Well, first thing, I wish sometimes I had more perspective. I’m yeah, sometimes I get mad. And then, of course, it’s like cognitive reframing and sort of what happened. And so you frame it, it’s all about resilience, it’s all about letting go.
And in framing it again, it’s very easily said. It’s not always because sometimes you’re so into it and you have so much expectation. It’s all about expectation and radical acceptance. It’s acceptable. It’s not always easy to accept and tell yourself it is what it is and I’m going to move on and I have to accept the situation.
I think doing or having discipline, which is a question of life and this gives a lot of perspective but sometimes I can get mad when I’m missing a shot or a three footer like you said in the beginning. But yeah, life is about perspective. It’s like the book I named before the subtitle, Art of you know.
Right? And it’s really about detaching yourself completely from the outcome. And almost not giving a shit. Yeah. No, you know, and it’s radical acceptance. I think the more and that’s what I’m telling my son, the more you can accept your misfits, the better you will play, right? Definitely. I want to ask you a question on outcomes, because it’s this thing that I’m torn with as a coach is we know if we improve processes, we’ll get better results.
That’s kind of the idea. So we only focus on the process, but I don’t want people to shy away from the goal and the outcome that they want because believe me, to get to the level you’ve become that outcome requires a different work ethic than somebody who just jumps on a trampoline. Right? I mean, it sounds silly, but there is a different outcome, which means there has to be a different result.
So again, I’m torn where I want people to embrace an outcome as something that motivates them. They’re looking forward to it. It pushes them and yet in the next sentence, I may say, let’s be detached from it and be in the process. So I’m still working on that. As a coach, how do you balance that it’s very important to have a final goal, and I like to call this a vision or your North Star.
You have a North Star, you have a a certain direction. It’s defining your direction. But at one point, I think it’s even more important to put in on the side and to focus on what’s happening right here right now. And I really believe, again, I’m repeating myself, but it’s coming down to the same thing all the time. The more you are immersed in the present moment, the more you can trust the future.
And if you try to control the future, you basically lose every control on the present moment and you lose everything. So it’s interesting. And if you only think about the final outcome you have, you’re putting a lot of pressure on your shoulders. So at one point you have to take a step and you’re much more agile if you focus on the process.
If you make a mistake, no big deal. I’m taking a step back and I’m moving a little left or a little right, but still I know where I know my North Star. And when people ask me, What are your goals? I don’t have goals, I have an interesting clear direction. But in that direction, though, are there measurable things that are along that vision, though?
Yes. Of course, you want to measure your progress. Yeah, yeah, yeah. Of course you want to track. I’m a big data person. I’m a data fan. I work with track men all the time.
And that’s the only way to track your progress. But for me, it’s a process. Oh, okay. So on that, because this is, again, in my industry, we have all this data driven track man and stuff like that. That’s the way we measure progress, right? I’m saying, how do we measure mental progress? How do we measure our processes and how is that getting better?
Right. And I don’t want to say what might be because I think it could be similar, but how do you measure that when it’s very tough? Like I said in the beginning, if you want to run the marathon or you want to go into triathlon or you want to, it’s very measurable right. And I think that’s why it’s so popular in a way, you know, because, you know, if I run five times a week, that many miles, that many miles, I know that after a few months, I’m going to be able to participate in an hour.
And then or I call this the midlife crisis sports. It’s like it’s like your last chance to be a bit good at something. The three people I had to tell this, if you started golf at 40, you’re never going to be really good. You know it. You have to accept it. Sorry. Again, people, but that’s the hard truth.
Know what I want? What I want to say here is that your mental training and your mental strength and your emotional intelligence, it’s not very tangible. Right? But you have to make time to reflect. You have to track your progress. I really like the idea of writing. Journaling. Yes. Of debriefing your emotional state on the course.
Yes. And it’s not easy. It’s tough. It’s really tough. Yeah, for sure. But I think it takes some time. And after that’s what I’m asking. Elite athletes write down how you felt. And even if you want to win, write it down. I was feeling that way. And you want to go back to this winning emotional wellbeing and if you fail or if you played like you had a really bad day, how did you feel? What was your pre-game routine?
How did you arrive at the range? How were you? How did you sleep? And you want to basically you want to systematize everything and put every chance and you know that. But I mean every chance. And I’ve I’ve I’ve read stuff about players listening to the same music all the time before starting your game. You know, music is great for the mind.
So if you have a good playlist and you listen to this in your car or this can be part of the pre shot, not the pre shot, but the pre-game routine or. Sure. And it’s different for everyone. Some people will put in 30 minutes, some people will drive for 30 minutes whatever finds your routine one what’s best for you.
It’s like sleeping. There is no one way to sleep. Some people need five over some people who 10 hours tested curiosity. Be curious. It comes back to self-awareness. Let you spot the start in this conversation because you ultimately need to determine what your optimal state is and go. People have different states. Collin Morikawa is very calm, very relaxed. A Tyrrell Hatton completes on the other side of the spectrum.
But they’re both huge high performers. They’re both hugely successful and great at what they do. So yeah, that is to understand what your optimal state is. And then also the self-awareness to understand how to prime your optimal state. Yeah, exactly how to create your optimal state. So how to yeah. How to optimize your brain and your mental awareness and everything and your emotions.
And every player or every human being has a different way of approaching things. Well, test Dustin learn. It’s all about distilling and learning. Oh, that works. No, that doesn’t. Fine. I’m going to go back and yeah, there is no one technique that fits everyone. I think it’s like a golf swing, no question. And then I think knowing your cause is an effect and I think back to what I heard earlier from you is, you know, the power of questions is part of self-awareness.
Some people, who wanted to just look at a golf shot, went there because, hey, my path number was too out this way. And the club base was here because it’s easy to measure and it’s easy to just blame my golf swing. Yet Hallam and I and you would say that the state where the shot is going to have a direct correlation to how they swing it.
So why don’t we ask ourselves questions like what state was I in and how was I feeling and what, what triggered that and what led to that and some people, I think I’m going back to vulnerability again.
They’re vulnerable when they start asking those questions because they’re not sure what’s going to pop up in that head and but the concrete stuff’s easy to say, Oh, I, I got to work on my swing and what I love, love, love and I thank you so much for today is helping people understand that it’s okay to experiment, it’s okay to ask questions, is okay to have this immediate feedback and just try something else while still pushing yourself and having that vision moving forward.
I I’m loving it. I really appreciate your insights today. Thank you. Very much. Yeah. Yeah, I, I, sometimes I feel like I’m repeating myself, but I think the brain needs repetition as well. But there are few, like, really important things that can, I think, help every golf player or even every human being.
Yes. But, yeah, it’s, it’s, it’s, it starts with self-awareness, curiosity. You’re having the right mindset and and focus and trusting yourself. We haven’t talked about self-confidence. It’s also something you can work on. I think self confidence it’s very funny, but it’s in, it’s in, in, inverted proportionally with fear of failure. The more you embrace failure, the higher your self-confidence is. Someone who is not accepting failure at all, you’re going to have a very low self-confidence so if you want to be certain of the final outcome, you’re basically you want to control things you don’t control at all.
There are many examples, but so self-confidence, I think it starts with accepting failure, embracing failure, internal dialog, intuition, visualization, and name it. But that’s wonderful. Yeah, that’s so interesting. And well, we’ll finish up in a second.
But what you just said, they don’t have time really like you reminded me of something Michael Phelps actually says a lot about and he calls it I think he calls it negative visualization, but he basically says instead of always visualizing himself winning the races and it all going perfectly, it would sometimes visualize himself completely messing up but still coming out on top.
So essentially, he’s training himself to believe he will be able to adapt no matter what obstacles are thrown at him. It will still come out until almost the antifragile identity. And that’s kind of what you’re talking about, that self-confidence is built upon the fact that you believe you can adapt and still come out on top no matter what.
So there is no fear of failure, because even if you do fail, you know that you’ll find a way, you know, you’ll learn, you know you’ll develop, and then you’ll still win. So I love that. Yeah. And it’s, it’s, it’s weird to say, but in my sports, in my discipline, I totally accept the consequences. It’s hard, but I accept that it can go wrong.
And I think the day you don’t accept this, that’s today you quit. So it’s, it’s, it’s and I think basically, again, to make a connection with a goal in life it’s resilience. The better you can accept your misfits and in life, the better you can accept when something goes wrong. And move on the make it simple, the more happy you go through life and the more you enjoy everything and and and I think on the golf course it’s the same you accept your misfits and enjoy yourself.
It’s always easy to apply. I think that’s a great point to wrap up on because having fun, enjoying yourself, none of this stuff, none of that high performance is possible. Now to the core of everything we spoke about, we were talking about perspective. And sometimes I play with people I know. I usually play with friends and people I know and they start complaining, Oh, the greens are slow, the sand is too hard.
The fairway is not nice, it’s so to win. And I said, Hey, stop, stop, stop, stop. We are alive. We’re breathing and we are on the golf course. Hey, so, you know, there are people six feet under who are not able to say that that’s perspective. And I think we should all go back to enjoying more and, and, and yeah.
Having fun. Wonderful. Yeah. Well, we’re having fun here. Yeah, yeah. It’s very simple. But believe me, if you go back to enjoying yourself, you will play better. Absolutely. Whatever your level, whatever your age, whatever your goal is, enjoy it. And that’s why I am telling people in corporate organizations that when I’m speaking I enjoy what you do.
And if you don’t do something else, you know, the three, you can move it. I heard you say that people call you crazy, but you said that crazy is not doing what you love. Yeah, that is so true. Because I guarantee so many people do say you’re crazy, man. You’re crazy all the time. I called them and said, how crazy is this?
I’m happy. I love what I do. Yeah, I and I think what is success? It’s very difficult to define success, whatever you do. But we all have different ambitions and life goals and so on. But I think it’s being able to look back on your life and tell yourself, I did it, I was where I belong to be.
I was aligned with my values. As we said in the beginning, I think you said it Rick, but a lot of players are defined by their scorecards and a lot of people are defined by their job title. So the interesting question is, if you quit golf as a professional, if you are fired, if you quit your job, what do you stand for?
What are your values as a human being and where will you take them? You’re not defined by a title, right? You’re not defined by a job. You’re not defined. That’s going a little bit beyond golf. But yes, I think it’s yeah, it’s all embedded in self-awareness. We keep saying it, but self-awareness itself. Yeah. We have the courage to ask ourselves the right question.
A lot of people are gliding on the surface of life without even knowing who they are. A bit. Confront yourself with your deepest motivation. There is a lot of social pressure. We live with what I call bullshit rules, a lot of rules from the past. And I think the last two years, you know, there’s the great resignation a lot of people are trying to maybe look for other solutions.
It’s all, again, glorious. It’s reinventing yourself, staying relevant and yeah. Cedric Riffle, thank you. Thank you so much. That was one of the most interesting comments I’ve had. Definitely just diving into a well that I have no knowledge of, but again, coming with curiosity and trying to understand how I can take some of the experiences you’ve been through, lessons you’ve learned and apply it to my own life, to my own career.
And everyone that’s listening should do exactly the same thing. So thank you so much. For that. I really enjoyed it. Cedric, where can all of our listeners, where can they find out more about you, your book and all of the great work that you’re doing? Yeah, my book is there to jump. Everything you want is on the other side of fear.
I wanted to tell Rick I read your book as well, by the way. Oh, there are a lot of connections. Yes, a lot of connections. So amazing. It’s good. Thank you. I’m on social media, mainly Instagram and LinkedIn. That’s maybe more for corporate people as I work a lot with organizations as a speaker, as the consultant. And yeah, that’s about it.