I read an article in the newspaper a while ago which at first glance had me checking to see if it wasn’t April 1st. Apparently a woman was about to sue the lottery organisers because winning the jackpot had made her life a misery! She had won an eye-watering amount of money but a couple of years on, her life had ‘no purpose’. Rather than perhaps thinking she herself had some kind of input into her own wellbeing, she had decided to take the route of many others and find someone else to blame for her apparent misery.
What possible connection does this individual have with your own game of golf? Maybe I’m now getting a bit too long in the tooth but I see day-in, day-out players in golf refusing to take responsibility.
They have played a course and the greens were awful, they got the wrong end of the draw and the wind picked up in the afternoon making the course more difficult, the hotel facility laid on for them by the tournament organisers was a dump, their coach had given them too much to think about, their caddie hadn’t managed to be a cross between Peter Kay and Confucious by not saying the right things at precisely the right time in the right way to keep them happy. I am sure you get the picture. At club level, it tends to be about things like the pace of play and their horribly inconsiderate playing partners.
Now I am not saying for one minute everything in the outside world is perfect and we shouldn’t try to change things and make things better. Pace of play is a burden on the game and there are a lot of players who are wholly inconsiderate, but what you always have to ask yourself is, ‘is it useful to have my attention here whilst I am trying to shoot as low a score as possible or get the most out of my golfing experience?’
We cannot make the world and other people bend to our whims and wishes but we can choose how we respond to what the world throws at us.
We can decide to take responsibility for how we respond to the cards dealt our way.
If we are constantly playing the role of passive victim, then our brain will always be in search of something or someone to blame. Not only will it search for somebody or something to blame, it will find it. The problem is when your brain has found its target it will then focus all of your precious attention on that perceived slight. The precious attention you need to get the ball around the golf course and get the most out of your day. I have said many times before, for me the single biggest mental skill of all is to understand the role of your attention and be able to choose to put your attention on aspects of your experience that are useful as opposed to useless.
Taking full responsibility is one of the most liberating things you can do. If you are taking far too many putts during a round, then find someone who can help you improve. If you don’t like to have a lot of information about your golf swing, then tell your coach exactly the kind of coaching you want. If you still keep getting a head full of positions, dos and don’ts, then change your coach. Don’t however blame your coach if you don’t let them know.
If you like your caddie to tell you jokes during the round, then employ someone with a sense of humour, if you like to be quiet in between shots then let them know but don’t expect them to be a mind reader if you haven’t talked through how you would like the partnership to work.
When you really take responsibility for your golfing experience, you put yourself in a position to actually get the most from your game. It doesn’t mean you will always win or you will always come in with a good score but you will give yourself a great chance. If nothing else, you will be more fun to be around and less critical of others. I have seen time and time again when a player really gets the idea of taking responsibility then a whole host of good things fall into place. Possibilities open up and you get the chance to see just what you are actually capable of achieving. By taking responsibility you learn to respond instead of react. The decision is yours to take.
When was the last time you did something different at your club? Why not host a Mind Factor evening with Karl Morris? An informative and interactive session at your club with Karl sharing ideas about how to get the best from your game this year. Go to www.themindfactor.com for details.
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