2017 reminded me of a story.
A very famous sports psychologist once recalled a conversation with Jack Nicklaus (statistically the greatest golfer of all time).
The psychologist was at some sort of convention where Nicklaus was the speaker. Jack was speaking about how to have mental toughness.
Toward the end of his talk, Jack made the comment that he'd never missed a short putt on the last hole in his whole career. His point was: you need to be tough when toughness is needed. All in all, it was a good talk.
Afterwards, the psychologist was lucky enough to meet with Jack backstage. Without trying to be rude, but curious nonetheless, the doctor mentioned offhandedly that he had actually witnessed Jack missing a short putt on the last hole during a tournament. He felt bad about contradicting the all-time great, but he was interested in hearing Jack's thoughts.
You know what Nicklaus said?
"That's not true. I never missed a putt on the last hole."
Still not wanting to be rude, our doctor lightly pressed on.
"No, it's true. I was there. I saw you miss."
Confronted with irrefutable evidence, what did Jack say then?
"Sorry, but you're wrong. I never missed a putt."
The truth is: Nicklaus did miss that putt. The other truth is: Jack just completely erased it from his mind. Why? Because it was unnecessary.
If you want to be the best in the world at something, you don't go around worrying about all the ways you might fail. It doesn't serve any purpose. How could being negative equate to elitely positive results? It doesn't, of course.
Nicklaus was utilizing the technique that countless other titans have used. If you want to be the best of all time, you throw out anything negative in your head.
A lot of people have done a lot of complaining about how bad 2017 was. I get it. A lot of stuff has gone down.
But if your goal is to be incredibly happy, then you need to throw all that out. If it doesn't make you happy, then there's no point in hanging on to it.
To that end, here's my list of my Favorite Things of 2017. Feel free to let them make you happy, too.
2017 Favorite Things
- Waking up this past January to see this. I know it's ridiculous for grown adults to root for sports teams. It gets more ridiculous each year. But Federer winning is something else. When he wins, nice guys finish first. When Federer does something amazing, the world gets a little nicer. When Roger wins, beauty wins. Kindness wins. Benevolence wins. Federer is probably sports' last chance to showcase something like this, and he's the last "sports team" I'll probably ever root for. Apres Roger, le deluge. But in 2017, it was glorious.
- Comedian Nate Bargatze. He didn't start his career in 2017 but he became my new all-time favorite in 2017. He makes me laugh harder than anyone right now, and he'll even give you tips on what to do if you get bitten by a snake.
- Wimbledon, 2017. Wait. It happened AGAIN?? This past year was so great.
- Almond croissants from Grain de Cafe. I like croissants just fine. I guess I like almonds, too. Who hates almonds? But nothing I had experienced in life had led me to think that I might like almond croissants. So when Jill offered me a bite of her croissant, I never would have guessed that I'd fall backwards off my chair and start rolling around on the floor sobbing with joy for twenty minutes. It's flaky yet moist nirvana like nothing I've ever had. The world can't be bad if almond croissants exist.
- Narcos, Season 3. I was happy with the first two seasons. They were fantastic but it was over. After all, Pablo was gone. What could possibly happen next? Oh, I was so wrong. Season 3 picked up right where we left off. If I can't watch Sherlock, give me Narcos anytime.
There you have it. Hope you have a great holiday! See you next year!
My latest book is The Inevitability of Becoming Rich, and you can find that here.