Sergio Garcia Finds Peace, and What We Can Learn from it: A Fan’s Take

Much has been said, and will be said, about having a killer instinct in sports. The drive to win, the drive to dominate the field, the drive to be on top seems to be what embodies the top performers of many professional sports.

I think the question that never gets asked is, "What is the cost of having a killer instinct?" How many professional athletes have Michael Jordan Syndrome? A syndrome defined by numerous retirements and a realization that life without the game is pointless and dull.

On Feb. 15, 2012, I read an article where Sergio Garcia said how he was finally at peace with his accomplishments in the game of golf. He is a well-known golfer who has been playing professionally for nearly a decade and a half. He is, however, a realist who acknowledges that he could have won a few more tournaments and he could have lost some of the ones he did end up winning. To many in the golf world, this may represent the end of his chances for greatness in the game.

Is he giving up on the game? Is he sacrificing his future in the game or should he develop more insecurity about the game to increase his edge? What is the cost of constantly telling yourself that your next tournament will be the best, that you are still on the way up, and that today's joys will pale in comparison with tomorrow's?

To develop the killer instinct you must always be hungry and unsatisfied. You need to sacrifice your peace of mind and quality of life for an unattainable goal. It's not that there is any particular unattainable goal in sports, but it's that you must keep yourself from obtaining the unspecified goal to avoid the satisfaction that comes with that success. You must set yourself up to constantly fall short of your own expectations in order to obtain greatness. The problem is, once you do obtain greatness you have so thoroughly trained yourself to be unsatisfied that you can't enjoy it.

I say hats off to Sergio Garcia. I can respect a guy who lives life for life's sake and not for golf's sake. Golf is a great game, but it is, after all, just a game. Reading his response made me think about my own career quest. Am I satisfied with my life? Am I willing to live at the edge of failure my whole life to have a little more money in the bank and some fancy title at the end of it? The answer I came up with is a resounding no. I think most people spend most of their lives searching for peace, yet find this conflict necessary for happiness somehow. If I must sacrifice success for happiness, I will do it, but I don't think I have to. I think we can rise above and accomplish while being happy. It does not have to be a zero sum game.

John Tacereus is an average weekend golfer. He loves the game and understands the need for constant improvement. He currently lives in South Carolina

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Sergio Heads to Northern Trust Happy

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