October 05, 2016

Flashback: Earl Woods publishes ‘Start Something’

“It’s so easy to get caught up in daily problems: Your parents are mad at you, your best friend made plans that didn’t include you, that math test was impossible, you didn’t make the team. Yet believe it or not, in the middle of all that stress and trouble, there are wonderful things happening all around you, if you take the time to notice.” And so goes the first chapter of “Start Something,” a book written by Tiger’s dad, Earl, to challenge kids to make themselves and the world a better place.

Published on October 5, 2000, and still available today, “Start Something” outlines a clear path to personal success in a friendly voice kids can understand. Since its release, the philosophy of the book has permeated all of the foundation’s programming, setting the course for TWF to help students develop resiliency, confidence and other critical skills needed for lifelong success.

Here are a few of our favorite excerpts:

Follow your passion, not the pack

Everyone is trying out for the school play — but you’d rather be in the band. Maybe all your friends are playing soccer, but you want to play tennis. Should you break away from your friends, especially if “everyone” is doing something together? But if you’re lucky enough to know what you like, don’t you owe it to yourself to stick with it? Your friends’ interests don’t have to be the same as yours. Why spend time on something that doesn’t matter to you, when you can devote yourself to something you really care about? When Tiger was a kid, no one else his age was golfing — but golf was his passion, and he wasn’t afraid to stand apart from his friends to pursue it. It takes a strong person to break away from the rest of the group, but you’ll be glad you did. You can go to their soccer games, and they can watch you play tennis. What’s wrong with that?

Make a plan

If you were going to drive from California to New York, you’d look at a map, wouldn’t you? That’s just how you set goals for yourself. You create a map or plan that will help you achieve whatever you desire in your life. Major goals or minor goals, the key is to decide how to get from Point A to Point B. Tiger has consistently established goals for himself throughout his entire life — very high goals that he shares with no one but himself. A big part of his success is that his expectations for himself are so much higher than anyone else could ever have for him, so he doesn’t spend much time worrying about what other people expect. He just focuses on his dream, and never takes his eyes off the target. You can do the same. Select one of your goals, big or small, and list the steps you need to take to get there. What’s the first step? Then what? Make a plan and follow it, step by step, always keeping your goals in sight. You’ll be amazed by how much closer it will seem, if you can see exactly how to get there. Just remember, these are your goals, and no one else’s. Dream big!

Be “someone”

“Someone should do something!” How many times have you heard that? Someone should clean up that park! Someone should report those wild kids! Someone should help that homeless family! Someone, someone, someone. Well, aren’t you someone? Instead of expecting “someone” else to get things done, get busy, get involved. If you’re not able to do it alone, get some friends or an adult to help you. If the park needs to be cleaned up, form a group and do it. If a bunch of bullies are acting like jerks, report them. If you know of people in need, help them. If you can stand up and take some action, others will follow. You can make a difference in the world you live in, one action at a time. What a great way to really be “someone.”

Earl Woods had a passion for helping children dream big and reach their goals, much like he did with Tiger. Earl dedicated the book to “the millions of beautiful children all over the world who face life’s trials and tribulations as they prepare to go forth into adulthood. Although their journey may be challenged by pitfalls and obstacles, my sincere wish is that it is also filled with understanding, sympathy and lots of love. I hope that this book will assist them in their adventure.”

Tiger, who was 25 at the time, wrote the foreword for the book:

Dear Friends,
I challenge you. I dare you.
I challenge you to be a winner. No, not in golf, but in your own life, in whatever you choose to do, whatever you care about. I challenge you to make a difference in the world, to reach higher and farther than you ever imagined. I challenge you to start something.

Start Dreaming. Start Exploring. Start Thinking. Start Soaring. Start Something.

Champions of the unexpected for 20 years.