Recently I was given the fantastic gift of a golf camp put on by Golf Made Simple. I was immediately attracted to the name alone as the idea of making anything in life simpler is right down my alley. In a previous blog we talked about John Maeda’s, The Laws of Simplicity and how whether in design or in application the simpler we can make things for the brain the easier it is to accept, to implement, and to make a part of our life.
During one of our playing sessions I poorly struck a 7 iron off the tee, hitting the ball left into the fringe of the desert (a fun experience that 10,000 Arizona golfers will probably share today alone). My immediate first reaction was frustration but then I took my deep and full Tignum breaths, I quickly reframed my negative thoughts, and then I looked at my coach, CJ, and asked if I could just hit another ball. This seemed like a logical thing to ask as I thought I was just trying to experience the glorious feeling of striking a ball perfectly. To my amazement, later to my amusement, CJ looked at me with no reaction, started walking towards the desert and said, “No extra shot. You have to learn to accept your bad shots.”
I immediately smiled. Isn’t this true everywhere in life? We want to take a do-over but do-overs don’t exist. Just like in golf the best thing we can do is take that experience, learn from it (capture what we actually did well), practice the mental skills of managing our self-talk, our emotions, and our reactions, and then move forward. Interestingly enough, as I found my ball just a scorpion’s length from a cactus and under a mesquite bush (in other words not in the best location), I realized the real power of the “accept your bad shots” lesson.
Standing with lousy footing, with a terrible lie, I now had to solve the problem that was in front of me. It did me no good to worry, to complain, or to scream. My only option was to look at the challenge that this shot had presented (a gift in itself if I am honest) and figure it out. As I hit what appeared at first to be an impossible shot, onto the green only 20 feet from the hole, I experienced a joy and a sense of accomplishment that I could have never felt had I hit my original 7-iron perfectly. Even more important, I re-affirmed some great Mindset strategies which were to accept your bad shots, reframe your self-talk, re-focus your attention, be solution oriented, and accept the consequences for your actions.
As 2013 comes to a close, all of us at Tignum want to encourage you to take some time to reflect on all you have accomplished over the year. Ask yourself what has gone really well and what you would have done different. Challenge yourself to accept your bad shots and most important be ready to enter 2014 with a High Performance Mindset. As always, I’d love to hear what you think.