We’ve all been there. At the starting point where everything seems foreign and unfamiliar. Where feelings of anticipation, exhilaration and most of all, anxiety hit us like a colossal tidal wave. It takes courage to start something new. A new job. A new relationship. A new activity. Where do we even begin? Will we be any good at it? How will it all end? Starting something new can be so intimidating.
Be honest. How many times have you let the fear of sucking get in the way of trying something new or taking on a challenge? It’s hard to admit sometimes, but we’ve all chickened out at one point or another. Which is such a shame, really. Imagine if we called it quits before the going gets tough, where would we all be right now?
As the saying goes, ‘nothing worth doing ever comes easy.’ The effort you put into doing something challenging always pays back in dividends. Trust us, the feeling of satisfaction when your hard work comes into fruition is simply indescribable. It all begins with the mind. That’s where everything starts. And to hone that area of yourself, there’s no better trainer than golf. Known as one of the most mentally demanding sports out there, golf will put your patience to the test and push your drive to excel to its limits and beyond. If you can master golf, you can master life.
That’s quite a heavy claim, we know. But we’ve got some solid points to back it up. Here goes:
Failure isn’t the end of the world
Although we strive to succeed, failure isn’t something we fear. A true golfer’s mindset is fluid and adaptive. We approach shortcomings as opportunities to grow, learn and to improve. Those who truly love golf understand that no one shoots 50. Golf is a perfectly imperfect game, and that’s the beauty of it. Of course, it’s natural and instinctual to experience shame, embarrassment and disappointment in any competitive setting. But golf teaches us to overcome all the negativity by channeling failure into a more productive context.
Setting the par high to reach your fullest potential
Having said that, golfers are also trained to set their sights and standards high. After all, no one rises to low expectations, right? The mindset of a high-performing golfer is always about chasing their next personal best. Not your opponent’s or anyone else’s.
Golf is all about focusing on you and your own expectations. Your best shot will always be the next one you hit. Staying in the present is perhaps the most simple concept, yet it's one of the most difficult to practice. So, psyching yourself up and also having a relatively high degree of self-confidence is the key to playing your best.
Staying cool and composed no matter what
Like all things in life, golf can also be frustrating. We’d be lying if we said you won’t lose it every now and then. Being able to control your emotions in the face of adversity will not only serve you well on-course, it’ll also benefit you tremendously off-course.
The best golfers are Zen masters who have over time been able to train their minds not to dwell on shots. The correct response to a bad shot is to forget about it. Known as the “10-yard rule”, this technique essentially means internally venting your frustration for 10 yards after your bad shot and moving on to focus on your next.
Knowing when to take responsibility
The best thing about golf is that it teaches us self-awareness. This intrinsic art of self-reflection, that leads us to analyze our own motivations, our emotions, our strengths and weaknesses, culminates into a greater understanding of not just how we see ourselves but how others see us.
Golf is a truly humbling game that can only be played well if we’re able to set aside our egos, learning openly through acceptance of our tendencies, good or bad.
“Golf is the closest game to the game we call life. You get bad breaks from good shots; you get good breaks from bad shots, but you have to play the ball where it lies.” - Bobby Jones
In so many respects, a game of golf mirrors our game of life. Whether in golf or in life, the difference between a great shot and a missed opportunity can be as little as a few feet. Some call that luck, but those who know better, know it’s not. The primary driver of consistent success comes with hard work and practice. Whether in golf or in life, we must always try even if we know we will fail. Try, fail, learn and try again. Soon, you’ll get there. It’s no coincidence why Golf is called ‘The Game of Life’. It’s an intricate game, so play it well.