Love the Challenges of Golf

February 02, 2015

I am at the point in my life where I love challenges that present themselves, because I know that I become more confident in my abilities to face them each and every time. How do you feel about the challenges you face in golf? Do you welcome them and really enjoy taking them on, or do they frustrate and upset you? How about challenges you face off the course?

You have the ability to look at your thoughts, perceptions and attitudes, and deliberately and intentionally shift them to be healthier, more life-supporting, positive and beneficial. Since all options exist at all times, you will be more in tune with the fact that you are doing well; more in tune with seeing how far you have come and the progress you have made. All of that positive information is right there in front of you, waiting for you to notice it. As you train yourself to pay more attention to that rather than negative thought patterns, you will see huge accelerations in your golf progress and performance. And you will learn to love the challenges.

To help you in this area, I have a self suggestion to better equip you to face challenges in a positive way. I recognize that what you repeat is what you get; repetition of thought, action, behaviors, attitudes and perceptions are all reinforced over time, and you can talk yourself into loving challenges, or dreading them. You have more control over that than you realize, and a great way of exercising control is by saying this self-suggestion as often as possible in your daily life.

The self suggestion I give you is this: “I love the challenge of every ball placement and every shot- every day I feel more and more confident in my ability to play golf well- I know I am playing the best golf I can play right now.” I hope this will be a strong reinforcement so you can continue to apply this knowledge in the rest of your life. If this is totally new to you, I encourage you to really use this to help you transform your thinking, in order to gain the success you desire and truly love the challenges that come with golf.

Let’s start by breaking this down. The self-suggestion starts with: “I love the challenge of every ball placement and every shot…” to counteract the perception, attitude or feeling that you made a bad shot, you don’t like your shot, you can’t hit that shot, your golf game sucks, you are no good at this, you are not doing well on your short game, or any number of other negative thoughts you can think as you play. There are countless negative perceptions or mindsets that you could possibly have, especially if a shot does not go the way you would like, or if it lands in a spot you would not have preferred.

Counteract those negative thoughts. Remind yourselves that it is a sport and anything can happen; the ball could potentially land anywhere. What you get caught up in, though, is your ego that believes the ball will land exactly where we want it to land and if it doesn’t, you will get mad. You have this preconceived idea that you will be upset and things won’t go well for your game unless everything goes as hoped. But you see, the beauty of it is realizing you have skills, you have practiced and played before, and you really love the challenges and opportunities that are presented each time the ball lands anywhere it happens to land. If you didn’t, you would not continue to play. Therefore, no matter what happens, you must have a different attitude as you approach the ball for your next shot. It’s an attitude of joy in being there, loving to play, and loving the challenge of that ball placement with every shot. Does this sound like you, or is it very different from what you have experienced so far?

Now let’s look at the next aspect of this suggestion: “…Every day I feel more and more confident in my ability to play golf well…” Stop here for a moment and think about what builds confidence. Confidence is built through repetitive exposure, maybe from events or situations, in which you have the perception of performing well. There is a chance you could feel confident going into something you have never tried before, just because you are generally secure and you have confidence in your ability to learn new things. Whatever you are about to do could be similar in nature to something you already feel confident in. Those are times where you will feel more confident when approaching something new.

Besides that, confidence typically grows over time. The more you do a particular activity, the more you feel good about your ability to do it, the more positive feedback you get, the more rewards, winnings or good scores you earn, the more confident you will become. Now on the flip side of that, you can just as easily build a lack of confidence as well. If you go into something new with a perception that you are not very good at things like that (based on similar past experiences) or if you have an underlying belief that you are not very smart and can’t learn things quickly, then you won’t have confidence in your ability to do it. In the same fashion, if you keep trying and trying and trying to do something over time, and you feel like you fail at it or are not very good at it and you keep noticing your lack in it, then you will build a lack of confidence in that area.

As you apply that wisdom to your golf game, think about how often you enter some aspect or all of your golf game with a negative attitude or perception of how you will do when lacking confidence. It is important for you to understand that every time you feel that way, you reinforce and strengthen that feeling. Also think about every time that you have played, and the most frequent types of thoughts that have gone through your mind while you played, and shortly after you stopped playing. Do you think negative thoughts or perceptions about your game or some component of it, such as your short game, long game, chipping, putting or driving? You need to realize that every time you have those kinds of thoughts, you reinforce and strengthen your limitations in those areas. Therefore, your perception going into the next similar kind of event or situation will cause you to feel fear, because of a perception that you did not do well the last time or the last several times.

You need to believe that you love the challenges, and you building confidence as you go along. Look for evidence so you can really believe the statement, and not be like a robot who just says the words. As you continue to read the suggestion, notice what the next part says: “I know I am playing the best golf I can play right now.” This is another huge area I have identified, in working with a lot of golfers and clients. I see a habit where most people believe they should be perfect at whatever they put their minds to. The day should go perfectly according to how they think it should go. They should never have a flat tire, never get stuck behind a train, always be early for meetings and no one else should ever be late, their food should arrive promptly, and so on. Then people get disturbed, agitated and stressed out when things don’t go the way they think they should. That’s what happens in golf.

In Golf, people tend to have this little make believe story of how well one should play right now, in every aspect of the game (chipping, putting, driving, long and short game). So any lack in your game sets you off, stresses you out and makes you angry, resentful, or just plain upset. The more you can see evidence of how this occurs in all areas of your life, not only in golf but in everything you do, than you can begin to recognize you are doing the best you can with who you are right now. All circumstances will present themselves in a way where you need to just be the best you can at the time: nothing is perfect according to the idealistic vision in your mind.

You can philosophically take this a step further and say that everything is perfect just the way it is, and I agree with that wholeheartedly. But, you also need to realize that the idealistic vision and thoughts of perfection that cause you to think you should be living and playing golf that way, is setting you up for disaster. So you counteract that by saying “I know I’m playing the best golf I can play right now, this very moment in time, right here, I’m playing the best I can”. Take into consideration all aspects of your psyche, body, attitude, training of your mental skills and mechanics. Take all those varying degrees into consideration and accept them as they are at this very moment. That doesn’t mean you stop striving to achieve better performance, and become complacent with your level of knowledge or skill. But it does mean that you can more easily love the challenges you face as you seek growth, and become more and more confident as you progress in your journey.

I highly recommend you start repeating this suggestion to yourself several times a day, beginning today. “I love the challenge of every ball placement and every shot- every day I feel more and more confident in my ability to play golf well- I know I am playing the best golf I can play right now.” If you would like more assistance beyond what I have given you in this article, please contact me. I really wish you well in implementing what I just taught you, and hope you begin to love the challenges you face in golf, believing that they help you become more confident each time. Thanks for reading. InJoy your day!

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