One of the interesting things about golf is, that playing golf teaches life lessons.
And yet, sometimes it helps to read a book to get it. The way we think is often based on ideas picked up one day and left unquestioned. Reading “Golf is not a game of perfect” by Bob Rotella I enjoyed seeing how some of his ideas reframed mine.
I was for example reminded of the way people often perceive competition.
Simply put, a way to see competitors is as being other people against whom one has to win. The challenge this brings is that it invites to focus on playing against others.
The perspective Bob Rotella offers invites seeing competition as an opportunity to go with others.
He ranks the three competitors a golfer faces, by giving most of the importance to the game followed by oneself. Others are only third in line here.
There is too much in the game of golf that is idiosyncratic and unpredictable. They are for example the ball, the clubs, and the course. Even if one learns all the skills necessary, there are still elements that can’t be predictably mastered.
Forgetting this about the game contributes to making oneself one’s own competitor. Everything that happens during the game as well as outside of it can impact the discipline the golfer has over his mind. Rotella doesn’t talk about forcing one’s mind here, he develops a list of ways allowing putting aside the many distractions available, including those created by our game.
His suggestions regarding competitors are fairly simple.
He invites to cherish them as people one can learn from. Helping them becoming better is a way of staying ahead of one’s own game as they create motivation. The better they are, the better one needs to be.
He then argues that one should never decide to dislike a competitor. There always is the possibility to find oneself playing with them during the most important round of one’s life.
And knowing that most players have been looking up to those golfers winning tournaments, he adds, that one should never let admiration hinder one’s own game. He makes the point, that if one has the opportunity to play with them, there still is only one person one should believe in, it’s oneself.
The last point may be perceived as being arrogant. However, there is nothing arrogant in believing in oneself. Arrogance is expecting results to be as desired.
Whenever there is an urge to protect oneself from failing to reach a dream, what’s acting out is the hesitation to discover what we can believe about ourselves.
Some lessons go beyond golf.