You are probably wondering where I’m going with this but trust me. I am going to share three great life lessons I learned playing golf. Not long ago, I took a brief vacation to go down to Florida and play some Golf with a great friend of mine Tim Shaugnessy. We played two awesome Golf Courses one on the island of Key Biscayne called Crandon Golf Course and Miami Beach Golf Club. The greens at Crandon were just aerated and reseeded so it felt like you were Golfing on the beach. However, the rest of the course was great. Miami Beach Golf Club was a little weird to play because I’m used to playing courses that don’t have greens right next to each other. On more than one occasion we caught some stupid people putting on the wrong green and once we were hitting to the wrong green but we quickly recovered.
My first of the great life lessons is: You don’t have to be great or even good at something to find great benefit from it. I am by no means a great golfer and by my own observation I actually suck some of the time. That doesn’t mean that I can’t find benefit from playing. I’m out there with a great friend who has got to be the most patient individual in the world. That’s where the benefit came in.
Tim can hit the golf ball 400 yards on a bad day. I don’t know how many 4 par greens he hit while we were playing but I just knew he would. To watch him hit the ball 400 plus yards and then have to wait for me. As I bang away at 200 yard drive and then 160 with my 3 wood and then pitch it in must have bored the shit out of him. Patience is what he has and when I was hitting my ball he would always be encouraging, head down, end high. (I always shorten my stroke). I learned from Tim that patience is an absolute benefit when dealing with people especially if they are still learning the game of life.
The second of the great life lessons I learned was: Head Down, Ball Up. This is a huge lesson for me. Not because of the simplicity of the statement, but for the overall meaning. Every time I keep my eye on the ball and swung the way I was instructed; the ball went where I wanted it to go. Every time! When I got lazy and didn’t pay attention, my ball went in the water, in the rough, and in the sand trap or I skulled it and it went 3 feet.
Pay close attention to where you want your ball to go will keep you on par for the rest of your life. The most important thing that this has taught me is if you do make a mistake start over. Keep you eye on the ball and get your head right back on it you can make par.
The third and last of the great life lessons is: The worst thing about water is you’ll get wet. I know it sounds a little vague and obvious but there was a very large lesson for me here. Ever since I started playing golf I am intimidated by water on the course. That was because I was never very confident about my clubs or my talent. Every time I come upon a water hazard I always get wet. It is a self fulfilling prophecy every time. I can’t hit across water so I never could. It was like my hands, legs and body couldn’t do what it normally would do on the fairway.
Do not to look at the water. Instead go through the motions that I was taught. Hit the ball and allow my so-called talent and technology hit the ball. What do you know, it worked! If the hazard is 160 yards I know I need to clear it with 180 yards. So I use a club that I know I can hit that far with some loft. I kept my head down, swung high and what do you know; it went across the water.
What did you Learn?
I totally related this to most challenges in life. Many times we will try to do something different to get through a challenge in business and life and wonder why it failed. It failed because we were’t familiar with the process or the outcome. If we just stay with what we have been taught you can get through those challenges very easily. When you want to improve on the outcome for later recourse then practice a little more. Become more familiar with the outcome. Tomorrow I will give you some more lessons I learned on my vacation. Sometimes if your having a hard time with life go play a round of golf and put it into perspective.