Sunday, April 24, 2011

Crisis - choke or panic?

I read a very interesting article today by Malcolm Gladwell about failure - specifically about people choking or panicing in times of crisis - and he used, among others, a couple of sports stories to illustrate his point. One was of particular interest and told of the time a few years ago when golfer Greg Norman lost the 1996 Masters tournament to Nick Faldo. This is often used, in other circles, to illustrate "snatching defeat from the jaws of victory". Even though Norman had started the day well ahead, he had "choked" - which means, in general terms, that he was overthinking his shots and playing like a beginner rather than being able to rely on the internalisation of the learning of golf that had stood him so well over the proceeding years - enough to have earned him the nickname of "The Shark". (The other side of the crisis coin is "panic" where you "don't" think.)
What was really interesting was what happened after Faldo had won the game, which, according to Gladwell's account was this: When it was all over, Faldo wrapped his arms around Norman. “I don’t know what to say—I just want to give you a hug,” he whispered, and then he said the only thing you can say to a choker: “I feel horrible about what happened. I’m so sorry.” With that, the two men began to cry.

No comments: