It’s been a struggle to write a new blog lately. I’ve sat down four or five times and cranked out ideas and half-blogs, but haven’t been able to finish one as there’s too much to talk about and there’s nothing really to talk about.
In a way, I’m working through some of the toughest parts of the project to date. But, it’s not about the swing changes and new equipment or lack of shooting a good score that I care to talk about or that is making this the toughest part of the project to date. Those things will pass with time plus practice and once the confidence returns and the new swing is grooved all will be swell with the game. What has been hard is that my attitude when arriving at the course had become sour. Hitting a pinnacle just prior to last weekend, golf and the project had transitioned from a labor of love and reason to crank the radio on the way to work to a metaphorical non-ending discussion with your parents about sex.
The problem is that my mindset had changed from explorer to perfectionist well before perfection was an actuality. After a great shot, something that I shouldn’t often be able to do two years after taking my first full swing with a golf club, I wasn’t getting excited; but after a bad shot I was beating myself up and lingering on the emotion. By the time the round was over my inner monologue was almost all negative and I wasn’t remembering any of the positives that came from the round. The world is a reflection of your attitude and my world had become a Rube Goldberg disappointment machine.
But. There’s always a but in my blog.
I realized all of this over the past weekend while stepping back to analyze my progress to date. Mary and I went to Bend, OR so she could cater a wedding and I had plenty of time to think and realized that I am my own worst enemy. There’s a lot of haters on this blog that just want to see me fail, but at the end of the day their opinion is severely lacking in significance at best. What does matter is how our super-ego relays messages between our id and ego (if you’re a Freud man) and how that affects our world views as well as our personal potential. When we get in our own ways we limit our abilities and having constant negative thoughts surrounding a pursuit is like sprinting into hurricane Katrina.
So, I returned to Portland and got out the sticks on Monday with the intention of appreciating the game for what it is, enjoying my progress to date and to relearn how to have fun while growing as a golfer. It was wonderful to be able to maintain a positive attitude throughout the day and I had one of the better practice sessions of the entire summer. I also had some solid realizations about why my drives were doing what they were doing because instead of thinking “why can’t I hit a drive” after every errant tee shot, I concentrated on what I had done right or wrong and computed why one specific feel created the result that came from the swing.
I had let emotions cloud my process and it had caused me to both not learn optimally and over time had put a negative sheen on the entire journey. I’m just glad that I caught that this weekend because these types of trends can be what stands in the way of ultimate success.
In unrelated news, I got a bunch of new shafts to try out in my driver and 3-wood:
Seeing as I have changed my swing over the past couple of months, the extra-stiff shafts that I was fit into back in March are now a bit too much stick to swing. I’m testing out some stiff shafts to see if there is any added feel. Will report about the entire process soon.
This is going to be fun even though by definition Deliberate Practice is not fun. There is a huge difference between working hard towards a goal and infusing self doubt due to being at a specific stage in the learning process. I am going to have fun working hard and will remember now that it’s about the process and about learning from our mistakes, not about lingering on them.