“Think of how many changes you’ve already seen. The world is nothing but change. Our life is only perception.” – Marcus Aurelius, Meditations; Book Four
We have an obligation to ourselves to welcome change. Our thoughts, our words, and our actions should constantly be evaluated internally. Only when we’re able to see the faults within can we begin the process to a better life.
This weekend felt heavy.
The collective heartache and frustration of a country focused my mind to how we perceive change. These weekly assessments are a small reminder that we have to be open and critical in everything we do.
Continuing to work on my swing, I could feel something completely different in my game. As eager as I was to get to the course to see (I forgot my coffee and sunscreen at home, I was that excited), I dreaded the conversations with my playing partners.
Part of the reason is they complain, a lot. Everything is a criticism or whine.
“The air is so thick.” “The greens are too slow.” “This ball feels like a rock.”
What I hear every weekend is dissatisfaction. Perhaps enhanced by changes in the world around them, but more likely by their inability to adjust.
When my partner found a ProV1 in the rough after a topped tee shot, he proceeded to play the ball for four consecutive holes while complaining that the ball didn’t fly right and felt weird at impact.
I reserve my judgments while playing with them, but it was this kind of resistance to adapt that reminded me why handicaps haven’t improved in decades. He didn’t have to do anything other than stop playing a waterlogged ball he found.
On 18 when he was saved from a water hazard by a tree, he chose to go for the green from a fluffy lie. Not only was he 215 yards from the green, but he had a creek to clear 140 yards in front of him.
“No guts, no glory,” he uttered before sweeping under the ball. To his amazement, his skyed near-miss trickled into the water. To MY amazement, he complained that he didn’t understand how someone could hit under the ball from that lie. His ball had been sitting on long grass with a swing that often takes divots with the driver. His perception and understanding were so far from reality, I would bet he didn’t break 100.
I understand the struggle of the game. I appreciate the effort required to get better. But I loathe a player that refuses to even try to change his awareness.
Breaking 100 can be a very hard milestone. It’s made even more difficult by incorrect thinking.
I wanted to share with you his pain because it is completely self-inflicted. I’ve been guilty of it myself. When we refuse to change in favor of the world that was comfortable, the world leaves us behind.
That obligation to think better and do better is on us. It’s one of the underlying principles of this blog: to seek improvement through understanding and effort.
Two weeks after barely breaking 90, I shot an 80 (+8). A significant improvement that must be put into proper perspective.
My effort has been high. I can’t get to the range everyday, but I can work on my swing. I can take each swing and try to feel if I’m making corrections. Then I can measure those corrections when needed.
Improvement doesn’t happen immediately. I didn’t go from 89 to a career best. We must continually work to improve. This week was a big jump with the understanding that my score will go up again, too. That’s life and that’s golf.
Statistically I improved every single Strokes Gained category (except Scrambling according to Golf Stat Lab).
That is the power of awareness and work.
I love getting to share with you these kinds of positive results because they emphasize that change is possible. The effort, although difficult, boring, and sometimes painful, can produce amazing accomplishments.
So my message this week is to listen. Open yourself to the natural progression of the world and to learning more about how your perceptions can affect your interactions. And whether you’re comfortable or not, do the work. Set aside time to reflect on what is holding you back and make a push to do better.