Seve Ballesteros – motivating a genius.

It was sad to hear last week about the death of Seve Ballesteros at the age of 54.  Ballesteros won 87 tournaments around the world, including three Opens and two Masters and a record 50 victories on the European Tour alone. In the process he became the leader of a pack of golfers who changed the face of the game.  As well as being brilliant he could also make mistakes and recover from them by playing unbelievable shots and that endeared him to golfers at all levels.

I am always interested to know what motivates top sportsmen and women because being successful at that level takes thousands of hours of practice. His caddy, Dave Mosgrove, talking on BBC Radio 4, said that Seve hated losing at anything.  As a young player, if he lost a game, he would go to bed and read a book and not eat.  The pain and anguish he inflicted on himself for not succeeding drove him to win.

Now, some people are motivated by moving towards pleasure (the carrot) while others are motivated by moving away from pain (the stick).  It would seem that Seve was an ‘away from pain’ person who did not take so much pleasure from his amazing successes. 

Whether you are a ‘carrot’ or ‘stick’ person, the important thing is to keep learning from your experiences.  There is always more to learn from the times that don’t go so well but even in success you can still think “What have I learned?”  What will I do better next time?”  That is a real motivator.

So what motivates you, the carrot, the stick or the learning experience?