I've said over and over again in my blog postings that it's all about the attitude. This week is an example of what I'm talking about with that statement, and what the right attitude can do for you. Without it I wouldn't be the 2009 Toyota Tundra Bassmaster Angler of the Year.
My first day on Lake Jordan last week was one of the toughest of my career. I couldn't believe how many things were going wrong. I'll admit it, I was frustrated and didn't really know what to do about it. It wasn't something I could control or change. Bad things just kept happening — time after time, all day long.
Here's the deal, though. You can't let that get you down or cause you to have another bad day. You must put it behind you, get out of bed the next morning and go out and fish the way you know you can. That's what I did the second day.
Then we went to the Alabama River. I knew going in that I had to win, and even then I'd need some help from the other anglers. There were no options, no strategic decisions to be made. It was all or nothing.
When practice started on Tuesday morning I committed to the win. I wasn't looking for bass. I was looking for bass that would put me in first place. I developed a pattern that I thought would do the job. When competition started on Thursday morning, I never looked back. It was catch big, winning-weight bass or go to the scales empty-handed.
I did this with the full support of my wife, Sherry. She was behind my all or nothing strategy. In fact she was urging me on. It's the way we live; it's what we believe. You don't leave anything on the water, or in life for that matter.
At least one writer has asked me about failure. How would it feel to go for broke and not make it, show up at the scales with two average size bass?
That's a fair question, but it misses the point. Competition is not about the fear of failure. It's about doing your best. I knew I had to win on the Alabama River if I was to have a chance to win the AOY title. I wanted the AOY title, so I had to fish to win. It's not complicated, and it's not about average bass.
Fortunately, it worked out for me last week. But if it hadn't, I'd be OK with the decision I made. You have to be good with it internally. I can be good internally with trying to win and not making it. I cannot be good internally with not trying to win. It's all about the attitude.