Archived Newsletters - Judgment:
Newsletter March, 2002
Vol. III, Edition 4
by Joan King
One of the keys to having a good mental game is to have NO JUDGMENT.
Judgment is the comparison between how something seems and how we think it should be. We would like to believe that we could hit every golf shot perfectly. And when we don't do that, we feel frustrated, embarrassed and humiliated, and we reject ourselves because we feel inadequate. And so we pretend to be what we think we should be (perfect golfer) by demeaning ourselves with words or physical actions of disgust. In other words, we pretend to be what we are not (perfect), because we are afraid someone else will notice that we are not what we pretend to be.
There are three parts to your "self":
- The way you see yourself.
- The way you think others see you.
- Your true authentic SELF.
Humans punish themselves endlessly for not being what they believe they should be. It is the Judge, the Victim and our belief system within that make us do this. The way we judge ourselves is the strongest Judge there is. When we miss a shot in front of other people, we try to deny the mistake and take the attention off of us by covering it up with excuses and rationalizing why it happened. To be a champion golfer, you need to seek your own approval, not the approval of others.
To maintain our balance and composure it is necessary to look at the game of golf/life in a different perspective. We need to forgive ourselves for being human, for making mistakes. This is the answer to Judgment. It requires a change of attitude and a new belief system. Golf is management of imperfection. Each shot is a story. When it is over, you begin a new story. Instead of blaming yourself for your mistakes, learn from them so you won't repeat them. When we are "in the zone" and playing at our peak performance we are not learning----- just enjoying the experience.
"I think I fail a bit less than everyone else." ----Jack Nicklaus
When you are playing well, your mind is quiet, free of tension, relaxed and absorbed in what you are doing. There is no judgment, only trust and enjoyment.
When you are playing poorly, your mind is judging your performance and probably producing the following scenarios:
- You are giving yourself a lesson and trying to "fix" your swing.
- You are judging your performance as right or wrong, good or bad.
- These thoughts are bringing up feelings of failure and doubt in your ability.
When you let go of the judgment and evaluation of yourself and your performance, what is left is self-awareness. When you are aware of yourself, you are playing "in the zone" where there is no judgment, only intensified concentration and total focus on making the shot.
"When I am in a zone, I don't think about the shot or the wind or the distance or the gallery or anything. I just pull a club and swing." ----Mark Calcavecchia
Albert Einstein was "in the zone" when he developed his Theory of Relativity, E = Mc2. He allowed his creative mind to create while he was doodling and daydreaming. When you let go of the judgments, worries, and thoughts you have about yourself, your self-judgment disappears. Then you are "in the zone", having fun and playing the game of golf.
You go against yourself when you judge or blame yourself or other people. When you have good self-esteem and feel good about yourself, you take responsibility for your actions, on and off the golf course. Then you are tapping into your Authentic Self by using the mental tools of responsibility, acceptance and forgiveness.
"Mistakes are essential to progress. The willingness to learn from them is the backbone of any progress. The object is to succeed, not to count your mistakes." ----Tae Yun Kim
When you judge or blame yourself for a missed shot, you go against your true Self and set up a rejection of yourself, which in turn sabotages your game. Some professional golfers routinely blame outside interferences so they won't judge or blame themselves.
Your miss-hit golf shots do not reflect upon you as a person ---- Your reaction to your missed golf shots does! When you fail to make a good shot, know that you have just failed at that task. It does not mean that you are a failure.
Become a magician! Use your thoughts and words and pictures to create the life and golf game that you desire. Let go of judgments that sabotage your game and put you into an internally self-created prison. Give yourself permission to enjoy the game of golf with its ups and downs, with its perfect shots and imperfect shots, with its humiliating situations and its joyous moments! Remember that golf is a game where an inch can make the difference between total disaster and absolute perfection! See the round in its entirety. Don't be trapped by a few miss-hits into judging your whole performance by them. Reinforce and enjoy the good shots.
Peak performing athletes rarely put themselves down. They talk to themselves positively about what they are attempting to create. They change past negative messages that come up into positive empowering ones. This is a part of their mental training program. They repeat positive mental affirmations and training routines until they are wired into their brains, body and spirit and become a conditioned response.
You are your most important critic. Nothing is more critical than the opinion you have of yourself. What you say to yourself in your inner mind is the most important conversation you will ever have. You become confident by affirming yourself.
Keep doing your best. If you always do your best, there is no way the Judge within can find you guilty or blame you. When you give it your best effort, you learn to accept yourself. Practice, learn from your mistakes and look honestly at the results. This increases your awareness of your Self.
Reinforce the good that you want to create in your golf game. Be your own best coach. Encourage and treat yourself as well as you do the others in your foursome. Tell yourself to LET GO of self-abuse and self-rejection that comes from never measuring up to being perfect. Accept and love yourself more than anyone ever loved you.
At its highest levels, golf is a game where you are feeling all the goodness, happiness and euphoria of the Universal Force. Happiness is getting what you want and still being happy when you get it. Every day congratulate yourself for what you did well during the day. You probably made fewer mistakes than you thought.
"Use the talents you possess;
for the woods would be very silent
if no birds sang except the best."
"I had one of the most enjoyable rounds I have had in a long time after taking your workshop. Your presentation and workbook are very helpful." John Stolemyer
"When I listen to your tapes prior to playing, I feel better prepared and confident." Robbie Gillbreath