What I Learned Playing Golf…


I had the privilege this past weekend to host our annual golf challenge for the Utah brothers and sisters. The challenge was renamed the Steven B. Kelly Memorial Challenge to forever memorialize by brother in law, Big Steve, who is gone from us way too soon. Having finally gotten serious about learning the game, I had been taking some lessons and felt like I might actually escape the beginner phase and play some legitimate golf. Boy was I wrong! I was arguably almost the worst player out there. One brother suggested that I might want to get my money back from the golf pro! (smile) But, I learned something on that fateful day and it’s worth writing about here…

Golf is only as hard as you tell yourself it will be. You cannot take lessons and commit yourself to a game and at the same time verbalize repeatedly how much you suck; how unlikely it is that you will make the shot; how challenging the damn game is and on and on and on. What you think is what you say and what you say is exactly how it is going to play out. No sport, upon your early encounters, is easy and to assign yourself failure before you fail is to work against your own best interests. Golf, like any sport, has fundamentals you have to master. Once you have mastered the fundamentals, which never happens overnight, you will gain confidence in your abilities to do it right. But, dogging yourself for not having mastered them yet is foolish and serves only to ensure you will continue to lose. The reason you do so much better at the driving range is because you have not assigned the same importance to every shot and instead relax and swing the damn club! Life is very similar in that you are only going to learn when you decide to just swing the damn club!

The things you tell yourself have a huge impact on how things are going to play out. When you are learning something new, things will be difficult and feel uncomfortable. You are going to flub up and foul up and f*** up! That is how life works. You may have spent your whole life thinking something is true or reliable, that isn’t true at all. It’s not knowing how everything works that matters, but rather your ability to adjust, change and learn something new. The real measure of your success is not how well you do in the things you have mastered, but how willing you are to learn something new and master that as well. The best things in life aren’t the things you may have thought they were. There are principles and mindsets and behaviors that accompany the best life and those things are not at all what the world says they are. The world’s offerings are shiny toys that glisten and shine and promise, but fail to deliver. They are sparkling bundles of nothingness that leave you hungry, empty, unsatisfied. You have to persevere with right principles (the right swing) until you have mastered them, leading to unending joy and happiness.

In addition to the affliction you put upon yourself is the affliction you allow from others due to your over reliance on their opinions of you. Once you become concerned about what others may think about you, you quickly lose sight of what you think about yourself. You become a performer in someone else’s contest. The moment you look for your competitors, you lose the race. You don’t play for the crowd, you play for yourself. You are competing both for and against yourself. Once you have entertained the mistake, the mistake is about to occur. Your job, your responsibility, your necessity is to not play against yourself. You have to prove to you that you can do! Your challenge is not with others, it is with yourself. Your job is to win yourself. If others ridicule you or take shots at you or doubt you, you don’t endeavor to prove them wrong, you prove yourself right! You own your own failures and mistakes fully and completely. You allow yourself to not know yet while committing yourself to know eventually. It’s not where you are now, but where you end up. You seek for the mastery of yourself and whether the crowd approves or disapproves matters little. You have to answer to yourself!

You will find, if you are paying attention, that you are not fighting the world, you are fighting what it is you are thinking about yourself. The world cannot make you into anything without your consent. It’s the man staring back at you in the mirror whose opinion counts most. Do not allow circumstances or situations to define who you are what it is you are capable of in life. It’s not the crowds or your best friend or your husband or wife who decides who and what you are, it is you! Fight for you. Believe in you. Stand for you! You can do or be anything you want no matter what has gone on in the past. The only limitation is you…

Life, like golf, can be a very challenging game. You are going to hit some balls into the water. You are going to whiff on some of your drives and the ball will only travel about fifteen feet. You are going to sail some ten foot chip shots into the abyss. You are going to three putt and four putt and have a scorecard worthy of the garbage can. But, the real essence of life isn’t found in your failures, but rather in what it is you learn from your failures and where you go from there. Golf is only as hard as you think it is and you owe it to yourself to recognize your progress and determine in yourself to finally figure it out! Don’t be seduced into working against your own best interests. The enemy you are fighting against is you! Win the fight.

See you on the links…

Just some good thoughts…

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