A great friend and business partner introduced to the game of golf in my late 40’s. Little did I know that golf would improve my outlook on life by helping me grow mentally and spiritually – and I also increased my vocabulary at no extra charge!
Here are five personal and professional benefits that I’ve derived from the game of golf :
Be in the Now – Unlike any other sport I’ve played, golf requires a great deal of concentration, focus, and being fully present in the moment. What happened is old news and what the future holds is irrelevant. The next shot is all that matters. The more you maintain focus on the current shot the better you’ll do. You have control over your club choice, stance, and executing your swing – the ball flight is a result of those choices. This ability to focus and be present greatly helps you at work to stay in the moment, don’t rush, and just take the next step. You quickly realize this is all you have control over. Tommy Bolt’s quote is especially relevant – “The mind messes up more shots than the body.”
Develops Your Positivity – No matter how the results of your swing, you quickly learn they could be a lot worse. Yes, your shot may have resulted in your ball landing in the rough or on an incline. Before getting angry, you need to remind yourself that it didn’t end up in the water for a penalty stroke, it isn’t lost, and you have an unobstructed shot. If you have a negative attitude and focus on what’s wrong your game goes from bad to worse. Golf has strengthened my positive “can do” attitude, positive outlook and lateral thinking skills tremendously. You learn to see choices and options where others only see a problem. This helps you develop the “Life is an Adventure” attitude and you constantly embrace whatever you encounter with positive enthusiasm. As Sam Snead said – “Of all the hazards, fear is the worst.”
You Become More Resilient – After striking the ball you have no control over it. After finishing the round you can learn and improve from the experience or get angry and leave in disgust. Therefore, bouncing back from a bad swing with a new attitude is key to improving and enjoying golf even more. Watching others and how they handle a similar situation gives you tools and techniques to add to your toolbox. This Kaizen attitude helps you in your personal and professional life by constantly being on the lookout for new ways to improve. Mastering resiliency improves your health and well-being. Consequently, your professional productivity dramatically increases by maintaining focus on the mission while executing different strategies.. To quote Ben Hogan – “This is a game of misses. The guy who misses the best is going to win.”
Helps Cultivate Gratitude – When walking along there will be moments when you feel extreme gratitude – for the day, your last amazing shot, the people you’re with, the beauty of the course, the weather, and for taking the time to play this great game. The list is endless A sense of gratitude also benefits your professional life by noticing small improvements, your new customers, and the clever solution you developed. As the popular saying goes, “develop an attitude of gratitude” and watch your life transform. A positive outlook is key to a healthy and joyous life. As Bobby Jones said – “I never learned anything from a match that I won.”
Increased Self-Awareness – The time between shots allows you to do an autopsy of your previous swing and learn from it. What was good? What will you change next time? Was your mental attitude positive or negative? By developing a habit of mindfulness you can check in on the status of your current thoughts. This awareness allows you to more readily develop new positive habits and begin creating positive changes in your life. Ben Hogan is credited for saying – “I never played a round when I didn’t learn something new about the game.”