The miracle is not to fly in the air, or to walk on the water, but to walk on the earth.

~Chinese Proverb~

Golf and life: Winning the mind game

September 30, 2012

Scanning information on golf psychology confirms that, without doubt, life is a game. The primary mental mistakes that golfers make are the same mistakes we all make while schlepping through our days. 

What separates great golfers from the average weekend hacker is avoiding the mental ponds and sand traps that rob equanimity and focus. The same mind hazards can frustrate us to no end in the games of leisure, school, employment, or relationships.  

Like golfers, we all need to know what the mental bogie-makers are, though knowledge does not guarantee avoidance.   

Golfers’ Mental Mistakes 

1. Worrying about what other people are thinking.

What is going on inside someone else’s head is their business. People who listen in on other’s thoughts usually hear criticism or rejection. This kind of mind reading drains energy and confidence whether at the office or on the links. 

Rule: What others think of you is none of your business.    

2. Comparing yourself to other golfers.

Self comparison is a waste of time and concentration. It serves no purpose other than making those on top feel good; those who are not, frustrated or deflated. People who are the best at what they do make great role models and mentors, but the only game anyone can play is their own. 

Remember, the only thing worth comparing are your socks. 

3. Dwelling on bad shots and mistakes.

The only way to benefit from a mistake is to learn from it and then let it go. Hanging onto a missed par putt, or a lost sale, takes you mentally and emotionally away from the game. Just as emotions can throw off a golf swing, they can muddle our thinking and ability to discriminate.  

As Douglas Adams wrote, “You live and learn.  At any rate, you live.” 

4. Tensing up when facing a difficult shot.

We do everything better when relaxed and our energy is flowing. Self doubt and dwelling on worst case scenarios translates into stiff muscles, cramps, shortness of breath, and headaches.  

Rule: When things look difficult, quit looking. 

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