07/02/2014 10:19 am ET Updated Sep 01, 2014

The Necessity of Understanding

This past week in Washington, D.C., I met with three new clients, all professional golfers. While the discussions varied because the implications of what I teach were different for each of them, there was one similar question asked: "How does understanding that human beings possess a psychological immune system make me feel and perform better?"

Indeed, this question is common, although I actually don't have a direct answer. What I can surmise, however, is no one is born believing that he or she must do something -- take a pill, think positive, visualize success, go through a routine, speak one's mind, delve into the past -- in order to overcome his or her struggles. But somewhere along the line we start buying into the misconception that we're supposed to look outside for the causes of, and cure for, our insecure feelings. Doing this obstructs our natural ability to self-correct (our psychological immune system).

To illustrate, if a golfer feels insecure as he approaches the final three holes of a tournament with a chance to win, understanding that his psychological immune system will take care of his wayward feelings, and all he has to do is keep playing golf, is a necessity. Why? Because, almost always, players who don't know this will deliberately pause and implement a mental strategy (see list above) in a quest to feel better. And since strategies require thinking (and since everyone feels better the less they think) he'll find himself feeling more jammed-up and insecure.

To be clear, when you feel bad, the key is not doing something to help you think less. The key is knowing that no matter what you're thinking you're naturally designed to self-correct and find answers. In my experience, the deeper a person understands this to be true -- the more efficient, productive, and contented his or her life will be.