Archived Newsletters - JUDGMENT VS. AWARENESS :
Newsletter August 2008
Competing in my first USGA Women’s Senior Amateur Championship in 1987, I met the gracious Pennsylvania Championship Golfer Dorothy Porter who taught me a valuable golf/life lesson. Dot Porter has a long list of golf credentials including being a player and captain of the Curtis Cup team, USGA Women’s Am Champion, four USGA Senior Women’s Am Championships, and she was inducted into the Pennsylvania Sports Hall of Fame.
Dorothy spoke at the tournament dinner and told us that it was a wonderful experience to win a tournament, but she never learned anything when she won. Her knowledge came from the experience of when she wasn’t successful.
One of the hottest professional golfers on the planet now is Anthony Kim. After establishing himself this year as the best player in the world under 25 with two PGA tour wins this summer, he faltered on two consecutive Sundays, bowing from contention on the back nine at the British and Canadian Opens.
“It’s all part of the process,” the 23-year old Kim said. “I learned more the last two Sundays than I did winning (twice),” he said. “I’m disappointed I didn’t win, but hopefully I learned something. When my swing got a little off, I needed to be more patient. I pushed too early.”
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.
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.
Non-judgment 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 level, we are not learning----- like Dot Porter, we are just enjoying the experience.
Your mental game means learning about yourself and developing the qualities that make you a better player and a better person. How else can you be focused while playing golf if your thoughts are about how you are doing, what other people are thinking of you, about the players who are better than you are, or just about not being good enough. Golf is like life, you learn from your experience. It is a process.
Golf is a metaphor for life because it has the same perpetual challenge of not being able to achieve perfection. Life and golf are natural processes of ebbs and flows, ups and downs. Golf presents challenges for us to learn and grow. Everything that happens, that has happened, is happening, and will happen in the future is the outward manifestation of your innermost thoughts, choices, ideas and determinations.
· You are not your golf game.
· Your miss-hit golf shots do not reflect on you as a person.
· Your reaction to your missed shots does reflect upon you as a person.
The way you perceive what happens to you is a major factor in being successful. Instead of judging your performance and getting emotionally involved in the mistake, learn from the experience. As human beings the only way we learn is from our own experiences. Someone can tell you how to do something, but you won’t “own” it until you have experienced it for yourself.
"I think I fail a bit less than everyone else."
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 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."
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.
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 as a person are a failure.
"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
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.
Entrain Your Heart & Brain for Peak Performance!
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