How many times have you watched a sportsman, or sportswoman, implode? Standing on the verge of greatness and, suddenly, out of nowhere, they have a meltdown? A rush of blood to the head, an overdose of adrenaline, or an explosion of passion, whatever causes the meltdown, the result is the same – failure.
If you’re a golf fan, or just someone who likes to see train wrecks unfold, you will doubtless have seen Jean Van de Velde, the French golfer whose famous meltdown at the 1999 British Open Championship cost him an almost certain win. You can watch it below, if you want a reminder (or to see it for the first time).
Standing on the final tee, Van de Velde could afford to take six shots – two more than the regulation four for that particular hole – and still take the title. Caution should have been the name of the game – he could afford to drop two shots and still walk away victorious.
Caution, however, was not on the agenda and, as a result, neither was a title win.
But it’s not just sportsmen and women who have meltdowns. Entrepreneurs, students, activists, politicians, professionals – people from every aspect of life – even adventurers like you – are all susceptible to them.
No matter what the situation, when the chips are down – when the stakes are high – if heart rules head, if passion prevails over precision, a meltdown will almost certainly follow.
Don’t get me wrong – passion is vital. You know by now that I’m all for passion, and I have it by the truckload. Passion gives you that initial momentum. Passion picks you up off the floor when you feel like you have nothing left to give. Passion keeps you pushing forward in the face of obstacles and objections. Passion drives you towards the finish line.
But, over the years, I have learned, the hard way, that passion only takes you so far.
Passion alone will not carry you over the finish line and on into victory. Crossing that finish line requires precision.
And so, in any endeavour, whether it’s sport, business, the adventure into your real life, or something else altogether, there comes a time when passion must play second fiddle to precision.
Precision taking precedence over passion may sound dull, and certainly not something that someone who advocates the single-minded pursuit of your real-life and creating a ruckus in the status quo would do. But it is. Sometimes, at least.
Think what would have happened if Van de Velde had taken that approach. What would have happened if he had assessed the situation and played for a six instead of a four, or even a three, on that final hole? We’ll never know, but my guess is things would have ended differently and he may now have his name forever etched on the trophy.
And, when it comes to the adventure into your real life, just like in sport, the simple fact is this: if you are going to succeed, you must have your head, as well as your heart, in the game.
With precision, Van de Velde would likely have become a champion, my beloved Liverpool FC may have gone on to lift the Premier League Trophy in 2014, and many a track athlete could possibly have held onto a seemingly insurmountable lead.
With precision, many adventures that have faded into nothing would have become a living, breathing realisation of destiny.
Precision gives you clarity. It clears the mists that passion brings down, and allows you to see clearly where you are headed, and what needs to be done to get there.
But, in the heat of battle, when the adrenaline is pumping, passion can still knock you off course. It is precision that gives you focus – that fixes your gaze on that point on the horizon, where the finish line lies, and allows you to block out all distractions.
And precision gives you direction. With a clear view and a sharp focus secured, it is precision that will give you the direction you need to move towards, and across, that finish line.
Precision gives you everything that passion cannot. It fills in the gaps and plugs all the holes. No adventure will ever get off the ground without passion. But, without precision, even the most passion-fuelled adventure will never reach its destination.
So, as you push forward with your adventure, take a moment to catch your breath, and make space for precision to come alongside passion, and guide you on towards the finish and the victory that lies in seeing your dream become a reality.