When the Spanish golfer John Rahm won the US Open last Sunday he said it was “Karma”.

I don’t think so.

I don’t really believe in karma. It implies that there are forces out there controlling your life. In reality, we all have our fair share of good luck and our fair share of back luck. Sometimes, the good luck is so big it outweighs all the bad luck, like a lottery win maybe. Sometimes, the bad luck is so bad it outweighs all the good luck, like a life-changing illness.

But we all get a mix of good luck and bad luck all the same.

A big part of success in life is partially about making the most of the good fortune that comes our way.

But it’s also about dealing with the bad fortune that comes our way. And you have a choice; feel sorry for yourself or fight back. As Hamlet said in his famous “To be or not to be?” speech: “Whether tis nobler in the mind to suffer the slings and arrows of outrageous fortune, Or to take arms against a sea of troubles, And by opposing end them”

I always knew my A-level English lit would come in handy one day.

Anyway, the golf fans reading this will know that two weeks before his win at the US Open, Rahm fell victim to a 2021 version of those slings and arrows.

The scene was the USPGA Memorial Tournament in Ohio. Whilst not one of the four golf “majors”, it’s still a big deal. The prize money for winning was $1.67m.

When Rahm walked off the last green on the 3rd of 4 rounds, he had a 6-shot lead. No-one that good loses a 6-shot lead on their last round.

And then he got a bit of bad news.

Whilst he was on the course playing an exceptionally good round, his Covid-19 test result from the night before came through. Positive. Uh-oh.

He was told the bad news as he walked off the 18th green. You can find the clip of him being told fairly easily on YouTube. Gutted does not begin to describe it.

It wasn’t just the prize money but the extra money from his sponsors for winning this event and the points he got for something called the FedEx cup. But it also meant that he would have to self-isolate.

The US Open (one of the four majors) was only 11 days away. That meant he would only have one day to prepare. Despite being ranked number 3 in the world, Rahm had never won a major. It looked like his biggest opportunity when he was in the form of his life was about to slip away.

But somehow, he managed to overcome all that and win it. He had a big slice of luck on the final day when a tee shot hit a fence and bounced back into play. If it had gone out of bounds, he would have lost two shots. Two shots was his final winning margin.

After winning, Rahm said “I’m a big believer in karma and after what happened a couple of weeks ago, I stayed really positive knowing that big things were coming.”

Perhaps the key thing here is not the existence of karma but that Rahm is a big believer in it. That belief is what kept him positive and helped him through the biggest setback of his career to date.

All the things in fact, that we have covered as part of our series of blogs on our Mindsetting series over the past 6 months in conjunction with the BackleyBlack Mindsetting programme.

We’ve covered a lot of issues since our first article about Committing to success in November. I hope we’ve hit on a few issues in your own business and personal life.

In the meantime, like many of you I will be looking forward to the England v Germany match on Tuesday. Being of a certain age, I’m still hoping for some revenge for those knockout defeats in 1990, 1996 and 2010. Even if I don’t believe in karma, let’s hope those England players do. It might be what makes the difference.

Have a good weekend.

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Malcolm Palmer


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