In his autobiography, The Tumult and the Shouting, the great sports columnist Grantland Rice once gave this advice about past mistakes:
“Because golf exposes the flaws of the human swinga basically simple maneuverit causes more self-torture than any game short of Russian roulette. The quicker the average golfer can forget the shot he has dubbed or knocked off lineand concentrate on the next shotthe sooner he begins to improve and enjoy golf. Like life, golf can be humbling. However, little good comes from brooding about mistakes weve made. The next shot, in golf or life, is the big one.
“Walter Hagen, a dazzling ornament to the history of sport, had the soundest golf philosophy Ive ever known. More important, he applied it.
“Grant, he said, I expect to make at least seven mistakes each round. Therefore, when I make a bad shot I dont worry about it. Its just one of those seven.
“I saw Hagen make 19 mistakes during one round in a North and South Open at Pinehurst in 1924. He finished with a 71, ultimately winning the tournament. A mistake meant nothing to him.”
Academy Award-winning actor Charlton Heston has not always had rave reviews. He says he learned “The most valuable single truth about criticism” from Laurence Olivier: Wed done a blank-verse play on Broadwayand the blank verse was not Shakespeare. The critics slaughtered usbefore the opening-night party we were doomed.
Forty minutes later I found myself alone in a restaurant with Olivier and a bottle of brandy. I was young, green and striving for mature detachment. “Well,” I said philosophically, I suppose you learn how to forget the bad notices.”
Olivier gripped my elbow. “Laddie!” he said. “Whats much harder, and far more important you have to learn to forget the good ones.” He was right.
Men who live in the past remind me of a toy Im sure all of you have seen. The toy is a small wooden bird called the “Floogie Bird.” Around the Floogie Birds neck is a label reading, “I fly backwards, I dont care where Im going. I just want to see where Ive been.
U.S. Supreme Court Justice
Oliver Wendell Holmes, Jr. was and still is generally regarded as one of the most outstanding justices in the history of the U.S. Supreme Court. He was known as the Great Dissenter because he disagreed with the other judges so much. Holmes sat on the Supreme Court until he was 91. Two years later, President Roosevelt visited him and found him reading Plato. “Why?” FDR asked. “To improve my mind,” Holmes answered.