Why Intelligent People Underperform


You probably consider yourself intelligent enough, right? Of course you are. One of the performance strengths of a solid golfer is the ability to use their intelligence factor to analyze, figure things out and make good decisions.
In my experience with clients Ive seen very intelligent players continue to underperform. This results in a great deal of frustration because their intellect says I dont know why this is happening. I know I can do this! One of the reasons so many golfers become frustrated on the course is because their intelligent mind has a hard time comprehending why they play the way they do. When results dont match what the intelligent mind expects, the mind can have a difficult time making sense of it. After all, making poor golf swings, missing short putts, not choosing the best club or not making the best shot selection dont make sense. Have you ever had this experience? Have you ever felt like you knew from an intellectual perspective you could play better golf but for some reasonjust dont?
Intelligence is Not Enough
You dont strike the golf ball with your intelligence alone. There are two other aspects that make up what I call The Performance Trinity. They include:
  • The Mind (intellect)
  • The Body
  • The Emotion
    They are all connected and an imbalance in any one of them causes an imbalance in all of them. The proof is all around us if we want to see it. There are a lot of very smart people who underperform on the golf course. There are many intelligent people who underperform in life as well. Do you know anyone who knows what to do yet still does not do it? How many people do you know in life who possess the talent or knowledge to be successful or achieve their goals and dreams and yet still dont? Its not just a matter of intelligence.
    One of my favorite quotes by former US President Calvin Coolidge addresses this very issue. He said:
    'Nothing in the world can take the place of persistence. Talent will not; nothing is more common than unsuccessful men with talent. Genius will not; unrewarded genius is almost a proverb. Education will not; the world is full of educated derelicts. Persistence and determination alone are omnipotent.'
    - - Calvin Coolidge

    Of course, persistence and determination are a mindset. They are beliefs and attitudes that are fueled and carried by another aspect of the Performance Trinitythe emotion. As I stated earlier; they are all connected.
    The Emotional Aspect
    Since all the aspects of the Performance Trinity work together it is important to look at the emotional component. When we understand the role and use of emotions, we learn to use them in our favor.
    Emotions can be either positive or negative. They can either be productive or unproductive for us. The intensity of emotion is like the intensity of fire. At a low intensity we use it to cook food and heat our home. When it is too intense, it can burn the house down. Emotions operate in our bodies in a similar fashion. Whether positive or negative, when we experience an emotion it creates chemical reactions within the body affecting our nervous system, muscular systems and ability to think clearly. The intensity of our emotion is what dictates whether it is effective or ineffective for us. When we experience emotions that are too intense for us we may:
  • Make hasty decisions
  • Act on assumptions that might not be true
  • Trigger a series of ineffective outcomes
  • Close off possibilities to see other solutions/choices
  • Experience too much stress/wearing down body/resistance
    Have any of these happened to you on the golf course (or off)? When you hit a poor shot or miss an easy putt and experience an intense emotion (whether demonstrated or not), how does this affect your decision making process on the next shot? Players who say the wheels fell off for several holes have this experience. They trigger a series of poor shots and results one after the other due to the imbalance in the Performance Trinity. We know better yet might still allow the emotional reaction and/or negative belief to carry on shot after shot and hole after hole. We are smarter than this for sure but its not always our smarts that affect how we perform.
    It is important to have all three aspects of the Performance Trinity working together. The proper thoughts, mindsets, emotional responses and relaxation/freedom in the body keep us playing to our higher level more often.
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    Copyright 2005 David Breslow. David is the author of Wired To Win and offers the highly acclaimed FlowZone program: Your Resilience Factor: Adapt and Excel in any Environment Workshop and TeleCourse that takes performance to the next level. David has appeared on The Golf Channel, ESPN radio, etc. For more programs/services/products or sign up for a free newsletter (write newsletter in subject box). Contact: David Breslow 847.681.1698 Email: David@theflowzone.net or visit the web: www.theflowzone.net. For book orders call toll free: 1.888.280.7715.