Karl Morris: Putting yourself in a productive time zone

News & Tour

Get your mind into the zone, but make sure it is the right zone

WE all love quiz questions or ‘favourite list’ questions, so here is one for you to get your teeth into.

What is the best golf shot you have ever seen hit either in person or on TV?

Maybe it was Tiger Woods on the 16th hole at Augusta holing his chip – in the commentator’s words: ‘In your life…!’?

Justin Rose and his approach to the final green at last year’s US Open? G Mac holing that putt to help win the Ryder Cup at Celtic Manor?

Or perhaps, going a little further back in time…

Nick Faldo’s approach to the final green to win his first Open at Muirfield. Seve hitting the 3 wood out of a bunker to the final green at the Ryder Cup in 1983?

No less an individual than Jack Nicklaus described this as the greatest shot he had ever seen.

Or what about the people you play golf with? Have you witnessed a shot that literally made your jaw drop?

The great Stanford Psychologist Philip Zimbardo has written extensively over the years about time and our relationship to it as human beings.

Zimbardo goes as far as to say that one of the keys to success in life is to understand how you relate to time in your mind. As humans we are unique in the animal kingdom in our ability to access different ‘time zones’.

The key is to understand where you spend most of your time because we all have habits in terms of the zones we frequent. We can look back at a previous experience as we have just done here. That may be a good experience or we may choose to look at a bad experience. We can look ahead to future possibilities and we also have the ability to be absorbed in the present moment.

The key is to understand where you spend most of your time because we all have habits in terms of the zones we frequent.

Do you constantly live in the past and is that a negative past?

How does your future look? How absorbed do you get in what you are doing now?

All of the time zones are useful to some degree. Sometimes we need to visit past negative events to learn from our mistakes and a future negative can also help to plan a future that is not just rose-tinted and overly optimistic (like some people in the banking industry did in previous years).

But, in the main, a successful life is built around three specific time zones.

Past Positive – look back on what you did well as a tremendous resource. You did this before so you can do it again. I always have found it to be really important to get the players that I work with to write down and record the good shots they have hit.

Present Absorbed – make sure you find things to do that interest you and absorb your attention. This applies both on and off the golf course. Become childlike in your fascination. Often in golf we lose sight of those early days of just being in love with hitting this shot in this moment. We are often playing golf now for what it may bring us in the future. The game demands to be here and now.

Future Positive – we do need to be able to create the idea of a compelling future. Build an image in your mind of what you want your future to look like.

It is your life so set about designing it how you want it to be. What courses do you want to play? What type of tournaments would you really like to be involved with? What type of golfer would you like to be in the future?

If you don’t take the time to paint a bright future and a compelling future you will be less likely to act on the things that you need to do now to make these things happen.

So as an idea going forward just be a little bit more aware of which zone you are in most often and make a conscious decision to put yourself in the most productive zone more often.

A bright future draws on past success and allows you to be absorbed more often in the moment here and now.

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