Wednesday, October 19, 2016

All You Need is Love

There's nothing you can do that can't be done.
Nothing you can sing that can't be sung.
Nothing you can say, but you can learn 
How to play the game
It's easy........

All you need is love, all you need is love,
all you need is love, love.  Love is all you need.
Love, love, love, love, love, love, love, love, love,
All you need is love, all you need is love,
All you need is love, love.  Love is all you need.

Do you know this song?  It's a classic Beatles song from 1967 written by John Lennon.  I know you probably weren't born yet, but you should still check it out.  It's on youtube!  But what does an old song have to do with you becoming a great golfer?  EVERYTHING!

First, you need to love the game to be great, because it takes hours, days, weeks, years; heck it takes lifetimes to play it well.  Next, you better love a challenge, because becoming a great golfer isn't easy.  Third, you need to love being in the moment, because that's the space of time when great golf is played.  Finally, the most important love is the love you have for yourself.

You need to love yourself unconditionally.  Unconditionally means on both good days and bad days.  Learning the game almost always means you learn the hard way.  You mess up a lot and you figure out how to quit doing that thing and then you mess up another.  You're going to hit hooks, slices, shanks, tops and maybe even whiff it.  It happens.  You're going to make really boneheaded decisions, sometimes on the same hole.  You will probably two chip, three putt and do something even worse, like hit the wrong ball.  It all happens, but hopefully it only happens once or occasionally.  If you keep making the same mistakes over and over, that means you're not learning.  Often, failure to learn stems from not loving yourself.  

Sure, that seems like a stretch, but in order to learn, you have to forgive yourself and accept the mistake.  You have to face it and vow to replace it with something different the next time you face the same situation.  It's the same with your fears.  Sure you have fears of dribbling it off the first tee.  I did it at St. Andrews on the Old Course with 40 or 50 people watching.  It happens.  If you have some love for yourself, it makes it a lot easier to laugh at yourself for your downright goofiness.  However, if you don't have that love, you know that your mistakes confirm your worst thoughts and feed your fears.  Instead of learning from them, you spend your time working to build yourself back up emotionally.  

Golf is a tough game if you think you are your score.  Golf is something you do, not who you are.  If you think you are your score, you will always be reliant upon your last shot for your mindset.  You'll feel confident and high as a kite after stuffing it into 4 feet for birdie and then hang your head low after missing that 4 footer.  Your self-talk, whether it's positive or crummy, will rattle around your head, but it won't reach your heart.  Love lives in the heart.  

Have you heard of players who play with a lot of heart?  No matter what sport you play, playing with heart means the same things.  It means you never give up on the chance you have or on yourself.  You compete, you play hard & you do the best you can with what you have!  The thought that you aren't good enough can't be heard because your heart is busy screaming "I can do this!"  You can see it when a player plays with his or her heart.  They show it off!  Here are a few examples.

Kathy Whitworth

Jack Nicklaus

Lorena Ochoa

So, how do you get on this path to playing great golf?  You start by learning to love who you are.  If you need to be a better person to do that, then get busy.  Find gratitude for your gifts.  Look to a higher power.  Give of yourself to others not as fortunate as you.  Be a positive force on your team.  Do what you say you will do.  Be a nice person for no reason.  Whatever it takes for you to build self-belief and love.   Taking that step toward the goal of love will allow you to accept your mistakes much easier.  It won't keep you from getting angry, frustrated or disgusted.  You'll still have all the negative emotions that happen on the golf course.  However, you can remind yourself that it's ok, because it's a hard game.  You can give yourself a pep talk instead of degrading yourself and you can go on.  Then, at the end of the round, you can think clearly of what cost you shots and go to the range to work on those things.  Mistakes will be things that help you improve instead of proof of your failures.

If you're working hard and not seeing the results you think you should be seeing, maybe it's time to do more than think with your head.  It's time to get your heart on your side and give yourself the love you deserve.  Warning:  Loving the game, the challenge, the moment and yourself will all help you on your path toward greatness, but it will make the losses hurt even more.  It's a good hurt though.  It's that hurt you have when you know you gave it all you had.  

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