Breakfast With Tiger Woods: The Difference Between Good and Great

Yesterday morning, I had breakfast with Tiger Woods! OK, so it wasn’t actually Tiger Woods. (Yes, I’ll admit it … my title was a cheap ploy to get you to read. I apologize.) I had breakfast yesterday with Kevin Pritchard, the current windsurfing world champ. In my defense, having breakfast with Kevin Pritchard is to a windsurfer like me like breakfast with Tiger is for golf fanatics.

What I find interesting is that Tiger Woods had a coach to thank for his success (Butch Harmon). And so does Kevin Pritchard. And there are lessons here for us as well. What Tiger Woods — and anyone else smart enough and driven enough to become the best in his field — realizes is that you can never stop improving your game.

Whether it’s a slight adjustment to his swing … a new stance for hitting out of bunkers … or a slight adjustment to his putting grip, there’s always some piece of Tiger’s game that can be improved. If left alone, those weaknesses — along with complacency in general — would eventually prove to be his downfall. But, like all the great ones, he recognizes this … and he continues to look for help as he strives to get better.

When I watch both Tiger Woods and Kevin Pritchard, a few things stand out:

* Talent isn’t enough to make you great. You’ve got to work hard as well.

* Hard work will help you stay completely cool and controlled when you’re under pressure.

* Avoiding mistakes is a major key to winning.

* You must make changes to get to the next level.

When it comes to investing, I have to conclude, judging from this list, that most people aren’t willing to become great. They aren’t willing to work hard at it. They easily lose their cool and regularly make emotional as opposed to rational investment decisions. They make many major mistakes and don’t learn from them or don’t learn to cut their losses. And when they discover they’re doing something wrong, they still continue to do that wrong thing. And that’s where the benefit of having a coach comes into play.

When Tiger Woods — without realizing it — alters his backswing ever so slightly, he has a coach there to point out the flaw and immediately correct it. As an investor, you should have the same type of coach working for you. That’s one of the things I’m trying to accomplish with the advice I give you in ETR: to become your investment coach.

To help you stay on the right path. To help you recognize your mistakes. If you follow my advice, you will reach the point where you won’t worry about losing your wealth ever again. You’ll know that what you’re doing just plain works over time. Isn’t that where you want to be?