Hello friends. I’d like you to meet my friend. His name is not-Rory. He thinks he’s Rory. He loves to try to emulate Rory.
Is it working, you ask? No, of course not. Because, surprise, he’s not Rory.
We’ve all been guilty of watching our favorite celebrity and then heading out and trying to replicate what they did. Whether it was dribbling like an And1 mixtape for millennials or dressing like Alice Cooper and biting the heads off bats like Ozzy for the boomers. But I’m here to tell you that there’s a better way.
Learning from others is an important part of mastering any skill. It allows us to avoid reinventing the wheel and helps us identify areas where we may not have realized we were struggling. Learning from others may be formal – working with a swing coach – or informal – watching YouTube videos. By definition learning means to acquire new skills or improve upon one. But I’ll argue that acquiring a skill is different than replicating a skill. If we get into the weeds on this point, the acquisition means it is now something you have versus replication which means you are able to copy something.
By replicating exactly what someone else is doing, you forget that you are a unique and separate individual. The way your body is built – your height, weight, body composition – may be entirely different than the person you are admiring. Which may mean that when you try to just do what they do, the results are unlikely to be the same. It also means you may make changes to something that is starting to work for you just because a pro does it differently.
By focusing on acquiring similar skills, you are noticing what works for someone else and figuring out how it might apply to your body and your style. This is harder and much more time-consuming. And might require a little help from someone else.
So how do we do that?
In the words of a wildly successful pro volleyball player and coach, Karch Kiraly, “We need to focus on playing the best we’ve ever played, which may get it closer to playing the game the best it’s ever been played.” The moral here is to focus on what adjustments you need to make to get better each day. It unlikely that what you need to do is what you see the pros or even your peers do. Assess where you are at and compare yourself only to yourself.
It’s hard. I get it…who wins and who loses in golf is determined by how you perform compared to the people playing around you. But when you start focusing on how others are performing and how they are executing things, you begin to take focus away from your own game. This makes you distracted and significantly more inconsistent. Unlike true team sports – how the guy next to you is playing has zero impact on your ability to succeed. Put your blinders on and focus on what you need to do rather than trying to just replicate what you see someone else doing.
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