I was reminded of this story about golfer Rory McIlroy recently.
In 2014, golfer Rory McIlroy was having the tournament of his life at the British Open championship. So, reporters asked him, “Do you have ‘secret thoughts’ that are helping you play so well?” Rory confessed that indeed he had two specific words that he was repeating to himself. But, he said, he wasn’t going to say anything until the championship was over.
He won – at age 25!
When reporters asked him again, he said – “I just thought ‘Process’ and ‘Spot.” He explained that “process” meant to him the consistent, repeated sequence of thoughts and actions that he performed before every swing.
Then he would pick a “spot” on the green he wanted to roll over. So, he focused not on the hole but on rolling the ball over the spot.
By thinking “process” and “spot,” Rory detached himself from the outcome of each individual shot and just focused on making good decisions and good swings.
Of course Rory wanted to win the British Open. But, he knew that to over-obsess about this ultimate object would be focusing on the wrong target.