BY CLINT HITCHCOCK
Golf is an easy game: Everyone should and can learn to play. If you can stay away from the technical aspects of the game, and learn to trust yourself and your ability, golf is somewhat simplified.
Trying to think of keeping your left elbow in, right elbow tucked, take the clubhead past the right knee… right knee flexed, wrist cocks when the shaft is parallel, keep turning till your chin is under your left shoulder… shaft pointing at target, start down slow, shift weight to your left foot, tuck right elbow into hip… delay the uncocking of your wrists, keep your head down, release the club, flat left wrist… etc., are all thoughts that should not be part of the golf swing. Can you perform the simple act of walking while thinking of firing each individual muscle or each process that it takes to raise and lower your foot to the ground? This is absurd. Your conscious mind is not capable of performing these complex actions. Your subconscious mind is the motivator for your responsive body movements. Overload the conscious, and you induce doubt! And doubt, my friends, is the enemy of your golf game.
Sometimes, when all our doubts, fears and insecurities wrap ourselves up, we always come up with the idea of “I wish I was somebody else.” More often than not, we think and believe that someone or rather, most people are better than us when, in reality, the fact is most people are more scared than us.
You spot a totally eye-catching girl sitting by herself at a party, casually sipping on a glass of Asti Spumanti. You think to yourself, “she looks so perfectly calm and confident.” But if you could read thru her transparent mind, you would see a bunch of clouds of thoughts and you might just be amazed that she’s thinking “are people talking about why I am seated here alone? … Why don’t guys find me attractive? … I don’t like my ankles, they look too skinny… I wish I was as intelligent as my best friend.” We look at a young business entrepreneur and say, “Wooh… what else could he ask for?” He stares at himself at the mirror and murmurs to himself, “I hate my big eyes… I wonder why my friends won’t talk to me… I hope mom and dad would still work things out.”
Isn’t it funny? We look at other people, envy them for looking so outrageously perfect and wish we could trade places with them, while they look at us and think the same thing. We are insecure of other people who themselves are insecure of us. We suffer from low self-esteem, lack of self-confidence and lose hope in self improvement because we are enveloped in quiet desperation. Sometimes, you notice that you have an irritating habit like biting off your finger nails, having a foul mouth, and you, of all people, are the last to know.
I have a friend who never gets tired of talking. And in most conversations, she is the only one who seems to be interested in the things she has to say. So all of our other friends tend to avoid the circles whenever she’s around, and she doesn’t notice how badly she has become socially handicapped — gradually affecting the people in her environment.
One key to self improvement is to LISTEN and TALK to a trusted friend. A golfing buddy who you find comfort in opening up with even the most gentle topics you want to discuss. Ask questions like, “do you think I am ill-mannered?”, “Do I always sound so argumentative?”, “Do I talk too loud?”, “Does my breath smell?”, “Do I ever bore you when we’re together?” In this way, the other person will obviously know that you are interested in the process of self improvement. Lend her your ears for comments and criticisms, and don’t give her answers like, “Don’t exaggerate! That’s just the way I am!” Open up your mind and heart as well. And in return, you may want to help your friend with constructive criticism that will also help him or her improve themselves.
One of Whitney Houston’s songs says “Learning to love yourself is the greatest love of all.” True enough. In order to love others, you must love yourself too. Remember, you cannot give what you do not have.
Before telling other people some ways on how to improve themselves, let them see that you yourself are a representation and a product of self improvement. Self improvement makes us better people, we then inspire other people, and then the rest of the world will follow.
Stop thinking of yourself as a second-rate being. Forget the repetitive thought of “If only I was richer… if only I was thinner” and so on. Accepting your true self is the first step to self improvement. We need to stop comparing ourselves to others only to find out at the end that we’ve got 10 more reasons to envy them.
We all have our insecurities. Nobody is perfect. We always wish we had better things, better features, better body parts, etc. But life need not to be perfect for people to be happy about themselves. Self improvement and loving yourself is not a matter of shouting to the whole world that you are perfect and you are the best. It’s the virtue of acceptance and contentment. When we begin to improve ourselves, we then begin to feel contented and happy.
Clint Hitchcock is from Deer Park, TX. Check out his site, Simplegolfogy.com, for more information on how to play better golf without golf lessons.