Reading Matters

Arnold Palmer: Do what you love

It’s an unassuming-looking little book, and I didn’t pay much attention to “Arnold Palmer: A Life Well Played,” until I saw that for two weeks it’s been on the New York Times bestseller list, most recently at no. 15.

So I picked it up and started reading, and I must say, it is a darned sweet read.

Palmer, who died at 87 last September, lost only once in four years on the Latrobe (Pa.) High School golf team. That record landed him a golf scholarship to Wake Forest College in 1947. There’s a heartbreaking story in the book about why Palmer didn’t fnish at Wake Forest, which I won’t tell you now. Instead, he entered the Coast Guard.

Toward the end of the book, Palmer says this:

“If you don’t like what you’re doing in life, then you probably shouldn’t be doing it. From the standpoint of what you do with your life professionally, do your job so that when you walk out at night, you’re proud of what you did that day.

“Sure,” he goes on. “I derived tremendous pleasure and financial gain from playing golf for a living. I’d do it all again in a heartbeat. But if golf hadn’t worked out, I’d have found something else just as meaningful to me. ... But the point is that you can always make a change in your life to do what you want. And what will drive you, what should drive you, is your pride. I’ve never seen anyone be successful who didn’t have pride. Have pride in yourself and set goals that reflect that pride. Do that and you will succeed, whatever it is you choose to do with your professional life.”

Thank you, Arnold Palmer.

Dannye: dpowell@charlotteobserver.com

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