“Golf is more fun than walking naked in a strange place, but not much more.” – Buddy Hackett
By Ian Hardie
At the end of the article Are you really allowing yourself to focus on your golf game? I left you with a simple but tough question:
Do you ever feel guilty that you’re out playing golf?
Were you able to answer that easily or did it take a bit of thought to get an answer out?
I’d suggest that there isn’t anyone reading this right now or for that matter – anyone who has ever played the game of golf that hasn’t at some point – felt guilty while playing golf and whether you acknowledge it or not
That guilt – as I explained in the first article – will be driving a bunch of those thoughts that you normally will manage to keep below your conscious stream of thought in
The ‘not noticeable’ department of your brain while you are ‘focusing on your game’
Now, before you start to think that this doesn’t apply to you I want you to take a good look at the image above and then imagine for a minute or two that you are the passenger in that pulled rickshaw being taken around the streets of Calcutta
We’ll assume that as you are probably on holiday and this is your first time in India, you will be busy soaking up the sights, sounds, energy (and I expect the odd different smell) throughout your ride – no doubt enjoying every minute of it
Much like a golfer who will be taking in the particular hole that they are on, the weather, their playing partner’s actions and how they are playing at the time
However, somewhere deep in the ‘not noticeable’ department of your brain
Some thoughts that your enjoyment of the experience is only possible at this point in time due to the efforts of the ‘runner’ at the front of the rickshaw will be swirling around
You could be noticing how old he is and wondering why he still has to work at his age
You could be noticing that his clothes and footwear are not in the best order
You could be noticing how thin he looks and wondering if he eats well or not
You could be thinking about how little money you are paying him for his efforts
You could be wondering why he doesn’t have a hat on to protect him from the sun
However, as you are a tourist at that point in time – your ‘focus’ is on enjoying the ride that you are paying to receive from him – so those thoughts above will probably continue to stay deep in the ‘not noticeable’ department of your brain until you get back from your trip and start explaining your experiences to others
Which is right about when the guilt – that was kept at bay by your ‘tourist focus’ at the time – would ‘kick in’ and make you start to wonder if you really did the right thing while you were there
That same mechanism is almost constantly going on in your brain while you are playing golf
As let’s be real about the game that we all play – golf is pure hedonism
Not sure what that means?
Hedonism is ‘the belief that pleasure or happiness is the highest good in life.’ or ‘a general devotion to the pursuit of pleasure.’
You might be thinking that’s just some new age ‘catch-phrase’ but in actual fact the basis of the idea of hedonism stems from the teachings of the ancient Greek philosopher Epicurus, who lived from 341–270 BC
According to Epicurus “the purpose of philosophy was to attain the happy, tranquil life, characterized by peace, freedom from fear and the absence of pain”
It would be interesting to know whether he would have considered the game of golf to fit into those ideas or whether he would have decided that golf was the exact opposite
Personally, I think that a desire for those ideas above are the very reason that we all get attracted to the game of golf
So that we can learn and ultimately, continually experience those things
You might want to take a minute to read all that again!
Whichever way you choose to look at it – golf is a game that no one really has to play
But it is a game that millions of people around the world like to play
However, while you are escaping the rest of ‘life’ on the golf course – busy ‘focussing on your golf game’ there are other things on your mind
Often they aren’t dramatically world changing thoughts like “Why am I spending my money and time playing golf when there is so much poverty and hunger in the world?”
These thoughts are actually a lot more personal than that – which is why the guilt they carry is so destructive when it gets unleashed on your golf game at the slightest opportunity
You might occasionally be aware of thinking things like:
I really should be at work right now
I really should be spending time with my family
But usually the thoughts I’m talking about are even deeper than that:
You could be feeling guilty that while you are playing golf – you’re not being as productive as you could be in other areas of your life
You could be feeling guilty that instead of playing golf – you should be doing something better or more amazing with your life – than hitting a ‘little white ball around a golf course’
You could be feeling guilty that while you are playing golf – there are a bunch of goals that you aren’t reaching or that you might not reach
You could be feeling guilty about what you know that you have to do later, what’s next or where things are going in your life
You could be feeling guilty that while you are playing golf – you aren’t being much use to the people around you that rely on you or the rest of society
You could be feeling guilty that while you are playing golf………………….
Take a minute here to see if you can add a few thoughts of your own that you may have had over the years while playing golf
It should come as no surprise to you that thoughts like those above carry with them massive amounts of emotion and the destruction in your golf game that letting such powerful things into your mind can cause is something that almost every golfer will have experienced at some point
The question is how can you even begin to deal with such guilt laden thoughts?
I’ll let you know my best suggestions in “Are you really allowing yourself to focus on your golf game – part three?”