'I Know What It Takes'

for the week of July 31, 2000
by Rubel Shelly

It was a spectacular performance. Tiger Woods, the world's top-ranked professional golfer, notched another place in the record books on a course which has hosted the sport for more than 500 years. At storied old St. Andrews, Woods finished at 19-under-par 269 to become the youngest person ever to win all four of golf's major tournaments. On July 23, he won the Grand Slam at age 24.

As he began the final day of the British Open with a six-stroke lead and a date with golfing destiny, he said, "I know what it takes to play in a final round of any tournament. You can't let yourself look ahead to the final outcome, because if you don't take care of the present, the final outcome may not be what you want."

That's not only good advice about playing golf but about life in general. If you don't take care of the present, the final outcome may not be what you want.

Most people have a plan for their financial futures. They may not be doing a good job sticking to it, but they know it is necessary to save something from today's paycheck in order to have something tomorrow. Or maybe it's weight control. The reason you're passing on the gravy or dessert is that you don't want the extra pounds and girth they will add. Life's desirable outcomes depend on acting responsibly in the present.

* If you want good health in your 60s and 70s, pay attention to things like diet, smoking, and exercise in your 20s and 30s.
* If you want friends tomorrow, think about how you are treating people today.
* If you want to pass along a good name to your children, pay attention to what your conscience is telling you today.
* If you want to accomplish something worthwhile before you die, take some risks today to position yourself for the noblest dream in your heart.
* If you want a stable, intact home, honor your family commitments today.
* If you want to live with self-respect, a clear conscience, and confidence about eternity, be sure about your relationship with God right now.

What Tiger Woods understands about championship golf is true of the really important things of your life. You will be wiser than most today by leaving the past to the infinite mercy of God, trusting the future to his good providence, and engaging yourself fully in paying attention to your tasks at hand.

Regrets over the past may dishearten you. Fear of the future can paralyze you. Taking care of the present is far more likely to yield a happy outcome.

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