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Thursday, 04 February 2016 12:59

Life as a metaphor for golf

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The first rule of golf is a simple one. When aiming at a ball that is 3 inches in diameter that sits on a ball 24,000 miles in diameter, try to hit the small one.

I find this to be a great explanation of the locus of control we are given in this world. As we go through the stress of winter, it is important to remember that we only have the ability to control our own actions and emotions.

During the holidays we interact with people; sometimes when people interact conflict ensues. As we deal with the stress and emotional turmoil of dealing with other human beings, our self-control is tested. We often fantasize about fantastic acts of drama in which we openly declare our rightness or throw the our opposition from a window. As in golf, we fantasize that every strike will be straight and 250 yards down the center of the fairway. We often play the perfect game before actual tee off. 

Yet self-control filters these thoughts as they travel from our imagination to our mouths. This visualization is a very important aspect of learning about self-control, the idea of a filter that catches as much of the negativity that it can. The problem being, much like a filter on a fish tank, the muddier we make the water the less this filter is able to strain from passing through and we often express ourselves in ways we regret when the water settles again. Practicing patience is much like hitting a ball in the pond, we dont know how deep in we are until the water settles.  

Often time the practice of being right instead of being kind is like practicing only from the bunkers. While it is an important skill to have, if it is the only tool we have we will end up in the bunkers on every shot. While focusing on bunker to bunker golf does give you easy targets to aim for on the course, you often miss the best places on the fairway and end up with sand in your crack. We often focus more on being right than we do on being happy, these two ideas are often mutually exclusive. This means at times you cannot be right and be happy. When we focus on the ideas of being right, we often neglect the idea we are then putting the other person as wrong. We develop a dynamic of imbalance that prevents us from being happy.

Educate yourself to deal with the hard shots when they come but focus on the enjoyment of the game, participate in every shot, and hope you dont end up in the bunkers at all.

Evolution is an important part of the game that we must bring to our daily lives. While in golf we continually try to improve and lower our score to par, most the time in life we arent even sure what par is.

On a course the designers set the score to aim for, in life we often lose sight of the bigger picture because its not as easily defined. In golf we never question par but in life we often feel dissatisfied with what we can attain and see others as the par setters for our life.

There is a bigger picture and we feel lost at times because we are not the painter. We lose faith in our role and feel we are an insignificant mark on a canvas much larger. Finding balance and meaning can help us learn to identify our goals, make our mark, and set par. When comparing ourselves to others it is important to remember that while some are able to break par no one has shot an 18. Sometimes the greatest players are the ones that realize the value of par anyway day.

 

Beaver is a mental health professional who works at Key Peninsula Counseling Center, Lakebay

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