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"Focus on the Process, Don't Care about the Result"

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"Focus on the process. Once you do the part that you can control, you can't care about the result."

I've heard this phrase said a few times lately. The intent is to get you to focus all of your energy on the "stuff you can control" and to give up control over the stuff you can't control - everything that happens after you hit the ball, the play of others in the field, whether your ball gets a good bounce or a bad bounce, whether your 20-footer goes in the hole or lips out… that stuff. The stuff that we control only very indirectly, by setting things in motion.

Though I've downplayed the mental game in the past (and will continue to do so), and though there's some truth to this saying… A number of people recently have taken it far too literally, and if that's how they take it, I think this saying is one of the biggest loads of crap.

If you don't care about the result, why the hell are you playing? Why ever practice if you don't care about the result? Winning doesn't feel good, and losing doesn't feel bad, if you don't care about the result.

You should care about the result. Hell, that's the only thing you really should care about, because if you care about the result that's what makes some of the other things - like the "process" - important to achieving a better result more often.

This is a short "Swing Thoughts" post, but an important one. If what you're doing isn't going to affect the result… why are you doing it? Why  should you care about it?

Maybe you shouldn't.

Care about the result. Care intensely about the result. Don't let it define you - how well you play golf says almost nothing about you as a human being, a father, a husband, a woman, or whatever. But within the context of golf… care about the result, and the things that lead to better results more often.

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Okay, I'll bite.

So, what if I strike my approach poorly and I miss the green but I chip in for birdie? And on the next hole, I hit a beautiful draw that lands on the green and and I 2-putt for par? Which hole is better? 

Obviously, the ideal is to land on the green and make birdie.. But I would say the process of hitting FIR/GIR/and 2-putt is more satisfying than a lucky birdie. 

 

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26 minutes ago, Kalnoky said:

Okay, I'll bite.

So, what if I strike my approach poorly and I miss the green but I chip in for birdie? And on the next hole, I hit a beautiful draw that lands on the green and and I 2-putt for par? Which hole is better?

Huh? Those are all results.

What's any of that got to do with what I wrote? I don't think you understood what I wrote, or maybe you've never heard someone say the original saying about caring only about the process and not caring about the result.

You can google the phrase and find a lot of examples. Some talk about how this applies to the improvement stages (which is "okay" advice IMO), while others talk about - for example - "caring about your pre-shot routine, your shot selection, your swing thought… and then not caring about anything after the instant the ball separates from the clubhead because it's out of your control." That is bull, and what I'm talking about here. If we don't care about that… then hit balls into a net and don't play golf ever. Because what happens after the moment the ball separates from the clubface is what we should ultimately care about the most.

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I have always thought that the "process vs result" saying was for practice purposes. Process being the practice part, with the results showing up later during actual play. 

Kind of like the instructor having the student swing as fast as possible for distance, with out regards to the results of where the ball went. The positive results would come later. 

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1 minute ago, Patch said:

I have always thought that the "process vs result" saying was for practice purposes. Process being the practice part, with the results showing up later during actual play. 

And if it were I'd agree with it more. But I've heard people talk about it regarding a putt for the win… or your pre-shot routine before an important shot, etc.

Of course you care if the putt goes in or if you flag the approach shot.

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11 minutes ago, iacas said:

But I've heard people talk about it regarding a putt for the win… or your pre-shot routine before an important shot, etc.

I think the line of thinking is saying that if you focus, or "care", about the results too much during your pre-shot, it can change your process or routine, even if just mentally, and negatively affect the outcome.  

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11 minutes ago, Wanzo said:

I think the line of thinking is saying that if you focus, or "care", about the results too much during your pre-shot, it can change your process or routine, even if just mentally, and negatively affect the outcome.  

Maybe that's what some people intend, but I've heard a number of people (lately, which is why it's been on my mind) who take it literally, as if they're actually not supposed to care if they make or miss the putt. Which is bullshit.

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13 minutes ago, iacas said:

Maybe that's what some people intend, but I've heard a number of people (lately, which is why it's been on my mind) who take it literally, as if they're actually not supposed to care if they make or miss the putt. Which is bullshit.

If you read the vision 54 books who advocate this process, they are suggesting that you commit to the parts that you can control. If I roll a 10' putt I commit to the process of starting it on line at speed. I can start the putt on line at the right speed and it can miss the hole due to imperfections in the green. I can hit the right shot have it land in the right place but have an unfortunate bounce. I have played the Stadium Course at PGA West and that is a course that I have hit very good shots that end up in almost unplayable locations. I shouldn't change my focus or process because of the things that I can not control and are almost random.

That is my take on this idea.

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37 minutes ago, iacas said:

aybe that's what some people intend, but I've heard a number of people (lately, which is why it's been on my mind) who take it literally, as if they're actually not supposed to care if they make or miss the putt.

Yeah. i agree that doesn't make any sense.  Some people like to point to Dustin Johnson and say it looks like he doesn't care about results.  He obviously cares, but his personality doesn't manifest itself in yelling or slamming clubs when he misses or hits a bad one. 

I think this topic is related to your previous comments about mental game being boiled down to enjoying pressure.  More caring=More pressure.  And if you don't enjoy that feeling....people, (me at times included) use the not caring philosophy or at least pretending not to care about results as a self defense mechanism and maybe a way to minimize pressure.  Probably not the most effective long term way to get better when feeling pressure as just accepting it and learning to enjoy it.  

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49 minutes ago, criley4way said:

If you read the vision 54 books who advocate this process

It's not just those books. I like the "think box" and the "play box" and some of their somewhat unique concepts, but this one ain't theirs to claim.

49 minutes ago, criley4way said:

That is my take on this idea.

Right, but again, this isn't really about you. There are many out there who either mean for it to say you literally shouldn't care about the result, and there are many out there who interpret it that way, too.

The point of the topic is to reach those who think they should actually not care about the result. 😄

23 minutes ago, Wanzo said:

Yeah. i agree that doesn't make any sense.  Some people like to point to Dustin Johnson and say it looks like he doesn't care about results.  He obviously cares, but his personality doesn't manifest itself in yelling or slamming clubs when he misses or hits a bad one.

He cares a lot, yeah.

23 minutes ago, Wanzo said:

I think this topic is related to your previous comments about mental game being boiled down to enjoying pressure.  More caring = More pressure.

I don't know about that. I care a lot… but don't feel a lot of pressure. At the end of the day, it's just a game. I care, but I try to keep it in perspective.

23 minutes ago, Wanzo said:

Probably not the most effective long term way to get better when feeling pressure as just accepting it and learning to enjoy it.  

I can understand what you're saying, a bit. Thanks.

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4 hours ago, iacas said:

The intent is to get you to focus all of your energy on the "stuff you can control" and to give up control over the stuff you can't control

That's all well and fine if stuff out of my control is the weather or slow play, but beyond that I'm not buying that mentality. Everything in golf is about results. The point of the process is to get the results I desire, otherwise I wouldn't work so hard on my game.

The process depends on the result and that's how we adjust. If I'm pulling all my approach shots all day, I'm just supposed to accept that I'm going to be a little left all day? No, I adjust my aim. I change my process in the hope of achieving better results.

To me, even the 20 foot putt is about results. I'm just not focusing on whether it goes in or not, but whether I hit the line I wanted to at the correct speed. That's a result to me, not a process.

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47 minutes ago, billchao said:

That's all well and fine if stuff out of my control is the weather or slow play, but beyond that I'm not buying that mentality.

Bill, the fact is that there are people out there who TELL you to not care about the results and mean it. And there are people out there who interpret it as being told not to care about the result.

47 minutes ago, billchao said:

Everything in golf is about results.

Off topic, but no, it's not. I can have a good time shooting 77 if I have good company, or get to play a great course, or whatever. Everything is not about the results. (But that's neither here nor there for this topic.)

47 minutes ago, billchao said:

The process depends on the result and that's how we adjust. If I'm pulling all my approach shots all day, I'm just supposed to accept that I'm going to be a little left all day? No, I adjust my aim. I change my process in the hope of achieving better results.

I don't know what you want from me here Bill. Congratulations; you're not a moron. But my first two sentences here in this particular post here are true. This topic is for those two kinds of people. Not you.

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22 minutes ago, iacas said:

Bill, the fact is that there are people out there who TELL you to not care about the results and mean it. And there are people out there who interpret it as being told not to care about the result.

I know there are, all I said was I don't follow their approach.

23 minutes ago, iacas said:

Off topic, but no, it's not. I can have a good time shooting 77 if I have good company, or get to play a great course, or whatever. Everything is not about the results. (But that's neither here nor there for this topic.)

Ugh. Yea. My bad, I know better than to use absolutes.

I was referring specifically to hitting shots. The result matters. If it doesn't, and I've done this before, I just go up and hit it, whatever. The process isn't there without the result, for me anyway.

26 minutes ago, iacas said:

I don't know what you want from me here Bill. Congratulations; you're not a moron. But my first two sentences here in this particular post here are true. This topic is for those two kinds of people. Not you.

Umm ok. You posted something, I quoted a part of it I wanted to comment on, then branched out with my own thoughts on the subject. I'm not looking for anything from you, I thought there was a discussion and I'd chime in with my two cents.

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16 minutes ago, billchao said:

I know there are, all I said was I don't follow their approach.

The whole point of the topic is to point out that such an approach is stupid and nonsensical.

16 minutes ago, billchao said:

Umm ok. You posted something, I quoted a part of it I wanted to comment on, then branched out with my own thoughts on the subject. I'm not looking for anything from you, I thought there was a discussion and I'd chime in with my two cents.

You posted this:

1 hour ago, billchao said:

The process depends on the result and that's how we adjust. If I'm pulling all my approach shots all day, I'm just supposed to accept that I'm going to be a little left all day? No, I adjust my aim. I change my process in the hope of achieving better results.

Of course you're not supposed to just go left all day. The rest is just agreeing with me, that the results matter, and that we should care about them.

My "Congratulations, you're not a moron" wasn't a slight to you in the least, Bill. It's a slight at those who actually believe you're not supposed to care about the result. It seems like common sense to you, but it's not common sense to everyone, hence this topic.

You're agreeing, and then I'm agreeing with your agreement with my OP.

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3 minutes ago, iacas said:

You're agreeing, and then I'm agreeing with your agreement with my OP.

Oh. Yea I missed something there. I'm dumb sometimes. :beer:

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2 minutes ago, billchao said:

Oh. Yea I missed something there. I'm dumb sometimes. :beer:

You're not dumb, we were both just talking a little past each other in agreeing there.

Good beans.

P.S. The Devils suck.

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7 hours ago, iacas said:

 

Right, but again, this isn't really about you. There are many out there who either mean for it to say you literally shouldn't care about the result, and there are many out there who interpret it that way, too.

The point of the topic is to reach those who think they should actually not care about the result. 😄

There are a ton of people out there who give bad advice. Who are the respected instructors who say you shouldn't care? 

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8 hours ago, iacas said:

Maybe that's what some people intend, but I've heard a number of people (lately, which is why it's been on my mind) who take it literally, as if they're actually not supposed to care if they make or miss the putt. Which is bullshit.

This. 

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