There are many different attitudes. Roberto De Vincenzo, a golfer from Argentina, beautifully displayed one of the best ones many years ago when he won the Masters golf tournament but was denied the coveted green jacket.
I say he won it because he had the lowest score at the end of four days. But his playing partner who kept the score had inadvertently written that he had made a five in on one of the holes when in reality he had made a four.
De Vincenzo signed the card, and when an incorrect card is signed, the player is disqualified. He had not cheated, but the rules stood. What was his reaction when he learned he was disqualified? Did he blame his playing partner? No, he said he made a stupid mistake. He accepted full responsibility himself. Now what kind of man is he?
Some time later he won another tournament. After they gave him the check, he spent a great deal of time in the dressing room. He was in no particular hurry. When he got out to the parking lot, it was empty except for a young woman. She approached him saying she didn’t have a job, her sick baby was at the point of death, and she didn’t have the money to pay the hospital or the doctors. De Vincenzo signed his tournament winnings over to the young woman and went on his way.
The next week he was in a country club. One of the PGA officials told him he had been a victim of fraud—that the woman didn’t have a baby and was not even married. De Vincenzo said, “You mean there is not a sick baby at all?” The official said, “That’s right.” De Vincenzo said, “You have just given me the best news I’ve heard all year.”
Where’s your heart? What’s your attitude? How would you have felt under those circumstances? Who had the greater problem—the golfer or the young woman? I think it is obvious isn’t it? How many of you think De Vincenzo really brooded the rest of his life over that woman who had beaten him out of that check? I don’t think he gave it another thought. He was truly glad that there had not been an ill child. Now that takes compassion, it takes heart, but it also takes wisdom.
When is maturity in attitude reached? Is attitude a head thing, a heart thing, or both? Maturity in attitude is reached when you fully understand what you can change and what you can’t change, and you respond accordingly. De Vincenzo couldn’t change the figures on his score card retrieve the money he had signed over to the lying woman. Fussing and fuming would not change the reality of either mistake. He chose to accept what had happened and move forward. By doing so he saved his partner any further embarrassment and grief over the mistake. He showed everyone who witnessed the other incident his true character and was not made to look like a naïve fool by an official who was all too proud to have the scoop.
People with a good heart are exposed most readily in times of stress and ill fortune. De Vincenzo was more interested in the needs of his golfing partner and the wlfare of a baby than he was in claiming to have been wronged. A heart like his, one that is honest, expects the best and holds no malice. It is developed over a lifetime.
Roberto De Vincenzo at some point decided he was responsible for his circumstances in life, that he had control over how he responded to disappointment, and that a good attitude and a trusting heart offered many more rewards than their counterparts. Make the same decisions for yourself and relax into a more fulfilling life.
It’s not what happens to you; it’s how you handle it that will determine whether you are happy or miserable.
About Zig Ziglar:
Zig Ziglar was born in Coffee County, Alabama on November 26, 1926 and was the tenth of 12 children. In 1931, when Ziglar was five years old, his father took a management position at a Mississippi farm, and family moved to Yazoo City, Mississippi, where he spent his early childhood. In 1932, his father died of a stroke, and his younger sister died two days later.
Zigler served in the Navy during World War II (circa 1943-1945). He was in the Navy V-12 College Training Program, attending the University of South Carolina. In 1944 he met his wife Jean, in Jackson, Mississippi; he was 17 and she was 16. They married in late 1946.
Ziglar later worked as a salesman in a succession of companies. In 1968 he became the vice president and training director for the Automotive Performance company, moving to Dallas, Texas.
In 1970, Ziglar went into the business of motivational speaking full-time, with an emphasis on Christian values. Until then, he called himself by his given name, Hilary, but now satarted using his nickname, Zig, instead.
Until 2010 (aged 86) Ziglar traveled around the world taking part in motivational seminars, but has been somewhat limited recently due to a fall down a flight of stairs in 2007 that has impaired his short-term memory and physical abilities.
Through the ups and downs of life Ziglar has maintained his optimism and encouraged thousands of people to be their best in the particular endeavors to which God has called them. Zig Ziglar is one of the most inspirational people on the planet today and is a terrific example of someone who has embraced the struggle of life giving God the glory each step of the way.
The article above was adapted from Chapter 5 in the very encouraging book by Zig Ziglar entitled Zig Ziglar’sLife Lifters: Moments of Inspiration for Living Life Better. Nashville, TN.: B&H, 2003.
Zig Ziglar’s Books:
Ziglar, Zig; Ziglar, Tom. Born to Win: Find Your Success Code. Dallas: SUCCESS Media (2012).
Something Else To Smile About: More Encouragement and Inspiration for Life’s Ups and Downs. Nashville: Thomas Nelson (2010).
Ziglar, Zig; Norman, Julie Ziglar. Embrace the Struggle: Living Life on Life’s Terms. New York: Howard Books (2009).
The One-Year Daily Insights with Zig Ziglar. Tyndale House Publishers (2009)
Inspiration 365 Days a Year with Zig Ziglar. SIM (2008)
God’s Way is Still the Best Way. Nashville: Thomas Nelson (2007).
Better Than Good: Creating a Life You Can’t Wait to Live. Nashville: Thomas Nelson Publishers (2006).
Conversations with My Dog. B&H Books (2005).
The Autobiography of Zig Ziglar. New York: Random House (2004).
Confessions of a Grieving Christian. Nashville: B&H Publishing Group 2004).
Courtship After Marriage: Romance Can Last a Lifetime. Nashville: Thomas Nelson (2004).
Staying Up, Up, Up in a Down, Down World. Nashville: Thomas Nelson (2004).
Zig Ziglar’s Life Lifters: Moments of Inspiration for Living Life Better. B&H (2003).
Selling 101: What Every Successful Sales Professional Needs to Know. Nashville: Thomas Nelson Publishers (2003).
Ziglar, Zig and Hayes, John P. Network Marketing For Dummies. Foster City, Calif: IDG Books (2001).
Success for Dummies. Foster City, Calif: IDG Books (1998).
Something to Smile About: Encouragement and Inspiration for Life’s UPS and DOWNS. Nashville: Thomas Nelson (1997).
Great Quotes from Zig Ziglar. Career Press (1997)
Over the Top. Nashville: Thomas Nelson Publishers (1994).
Five Steps to Successful Selling. Nigtingale-Conant Corp. (1987).
Top Performance: How to Develop Excellence in Yourself and Others. New York: Berkley Books (1986).
Raising Positive Kids in a Negative World. Nashville: Oliver Nelson (1985).
Zig Ziglar’s Secrets of Closing the Sale. New York: Berkley Books (1982).
See You at the Top. Gretna: Pelican (1975).
About Golfer Roberto De Vincenzo
The world will always remember Roberto De Vicenzo for what he lost, not for what he won-for that careless mistake he made at the 1968 Masters, signing an incorrect scorecard that had him making a par and not a birdie on the 17th hole that Sunday afternoon-and, thus, his uttering of the immortal golf quote, “What a stupid I am.” Yet there is so much more to De Vicenzo’s career and the contributions he made to golf around the world than what occurred in the scorer’s tent at Augusta National that should not overshadow the man’s legacy. Roberto De Vicenzo won more than 230 golf tournaments, including the 1967 Open Championship at Hoylake, where he held off the Sunday charges of Jack Nicklaus and Gary Player to become, at 44, the oldest winner of the world’s oldest golf championship.
Facing success and catastrophe and treating those twin imposters the same inspired British golf writer Peter Dobereiner to use the Rudyard Kipling quote when giving De Vicenzo his due. In Dobereiner’s words, “By that standard, De Vicenzo is a giant of a man because he faced the greatest triumph and the most devastating disaster which the game of golf can provide.” The United States Golf Association and the Golf Writers Association of America agreed, presenting De Vicenzo with the Bob Jones and William Richardson Awards, respectively, in 1970.
All the trophies he captured didn’t mean as much to De Vicenzo as the friends he made traveling the globe. He won national opens in Belgium, Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Holland, France, Germany, Jamaica, Mexico, Panama, Peru, Spain, Uruguay, Venezuela and Argentina, a country he represented 17 times in the World Cup. Essayist Jack Whitaker once said that if golf were war, Roberto would have conquered more countries than Alexander the Great. But golf was not war to De Vicenzo. And that is what made him so loved.
Born in Buenos Aires April 14, 1923, De Vicenzo learned the game as a caddy’s assistant. He turned professional at age 15 and won his first of nine Argentine Open titles six years later. Three-time Open Championship winner Henry Cotton once said there were very few professionals in the business who would not take the play through the green of Argentine golfing master Roberto De Vicenzo, and his game never left him. At 51 he won the PGA Seniors’ Championship and in 1980, at age 57, the inaugural U.S. Senior Open.
He believed in hard practice, routinely hitting 400 balls a day and maintaining a slow pace. “If you hurry,” he would say, “then nothing seems to go right.” He’d visualize a shot, pick a club and hit. His method was simple to watch, and it held up under pressure.
It did that final round at the Masters in 1968. What’s lost behind that staggering mistake made by fellow competitor Tommy Aaron and signed for by De Vicenzo is that Roberto shot what has been called one of the greatest rounds in major championship history. He took only 65 strokes around Augusta National that day, including a bogey at the 18th, on his 45th birthday. His 31 on the front side started with an eagle 2 at the first and tied the course record. It should have been good enough to tie Bob Goalby and set up a playoff which, had he won, would have given Roberto De Vicenzo both the Open Championship and Masters titles at the same time.