Years ago, a psychologist colleague invited me to join him and a few others for a round of golf. I hadn’t played much previously, but I figured I knew enough of the rules and etiquette to make it through the day without making an ass of myself. What I didn’t have, were golf skills.
Since then, I have come to truly love the game of golf, but it may be the most maddening, and delightful game on the planet. Those who play with me often hear me utter the phrase ‘I’d be a helluva golfer if I could string two to three good shots together.’
That first time out with my buddy, I was really bad, and it pissed me off. The desire to win in competition is a healthy and important part of what it means to be a man. I was cursing, tossing my gear around, and just generally being a whiny bitch. I had let that desire get the better of me. It was at this point, that my colleague said this:
Relax Matt, you’re just not that good!
Impulsively, I responded as you might expect, but after some reflection, it occurred to me that he was right. Not only was it unreasonable to expect to be the best golfer in the group, having played very little, I was also missing the whole point of the outing. I had forgotten to enjoy the experience that was this afternoon with a group of men I respected and admired because I was so concerned about the outcome.
How often do you forget to experience life's best moments, because you're concerned with the outcome?
Forget to enjoy your workout?
Forget to enjoy your meal?
Forget to enjoy your kids?
Forget to enjoy your partner?
Forget to enjoy the process?
I’m still no Tiger Woods (I get a little closer every season), but here’s what has changed: I enjoy every single round of golf I play. I enjoy being outdoors. I enjoy the company of the men I play with. I enjoy the cold beer. I keep score, but I never really worry about it.
Perhaps my version of stopping to smell the roses, is to remind myself that I’m just not that good.