In the past I would always have been an advocate of stressing the need to work at everything we do. I would have been disappointed if one the players that I spend time with wasn’t showing the work ethic that I thought they needed to get to the level I thought they were capable of. However after some reflection I realise that if something feels like work we will only do it as much as we are told to or feel we need to. If something feels like a game that we are playing we get lost in the time we spend playing.
The trouble with play is it needs to be spontaneous, it can’t be forced. When kids play games with each other they don’t cling to the result, they aren’t anxious about whether it will be beneficial to them in the long run. They just enjoy the game for what it is in that very moment. We should take a similar approach to our sport. Practice not for what you might get out of it or how it might effect your results. Do it because it’s a game you can play. Play with the weight of the club, play with different body movements and observe the way the ball flies. Get immersed in playing with different ideas, methods, movements and strategies.
Life is a game. In business you might play with different approaches to marketing and see what happens to sales. In relationships you play with different ways of relating to and communicating with each other. For some reason as we get older we are told we must ‘get serious’ and ‘settle down’. I can’t figure this out and I think we lose a lot of young golfers and sports people because of this. Parents and teachers tell them, ‘It’s time you picked which sport you are most serious about and work at that sport, focus hard on your weaknesses’. What an awful thing to say to someone.
We are under no compulsion to get serious about anything. It’s not the law in fact getting serious is probably detrimental to most things in life if Einstein could play with the most complex ideas and subjects known to man then why should we think we are so special that we need to get serious about playing a game. Finally a little video from one of my favourite thinkers/philosophers Alan Watts.
Life is a game so why should golf be more serious than that.
All the best,