How Gary Player Protects Himself Against Pessimism

Gary PlayerWith 24 PGA Tour wins and nine Major championships on his resume, Gary Player is one of the most successful golfers in the sport’s history.

Famous for how much he emphasized the importance of physical conditioning to give himself an edge in the game of golf, Gary Player was also adamant about the importance of mental conditioning.

Like so many top achievers, Player believes a positive mental attitude is essential to success—on and off the golf course.

He believes so strongly in the power of positive thinking that he goes out of his way to protect himself and his environment from negativity and pessimism…


Pessimism is like quicksand or a black hole. Simply being close to it is bad for you, and it will suck you in before you know it.

So to start off, I counter pessimism by not being around pessimistic people.

The negativity of certain people astounds me. I don’t know how some people can go through life being so negative. I avoid them like I avoid bacon.

Any old idiot can see what’s wrong with the world. That doesn’t take a genius to figure out.

Let’s face it, every single one of us could wake up each morning with a long list of complaints. And many of them would be valid. We’d be justified in our complaining. But where does that get us?

As I’ve said so many times, optimism is not some head-in-the-sand philosophy that looks at life through rose-colored glasses and says everything is fine despite the obvious hardships and challenges out there.

Optimism and a positive attitude will enable you to see the obstacles and challenges, to accept the hardships and suffering, but to always be open to finding a way through it.


– Gary Player, from his book Gary Player’s Black Book

The more I study the world’s top achievers—in sports, in business, and in life—the more I notice a common theme: successful people take mental attitude very seriously. They find ways to continuously feed themselves positivity and motivation. They also go out of their way to protect themselves from negativity and pessimism.

If so many top achievers make it a priority to discipline their thoughts, to constantly feed themselves motivation, and to protect themselves from negative environments, shouldn’t we ALL be doing this?

Shouldn’t we all be making mental conditioning a regular part of our daily lives?

To be a champion, you have to think like a champion. Not every once in a while, not only when you start feeling blue, but every single day.