Karl Morris: Create a new version of your golfing selfApril, 2015
Shed your labels and take on a whole new golfing persona
Think for a moment about all the labels you carry around with you both on and off the golf course.
You were perhaps told in your school days you weren’t musical or maybe someone you looked up to informed you that you were just not that sporty.
At an early age we take in this information from so-called experts and very quickly we identify with what they say about us.
Many golfers hang the title ‘poor putter’ or ‘dodgy chipper’ around their neck like a badge of honour.
We become the labels that we give ourselves. I want you to consider that you could perhaps give yourself some new labels which could be more useful to you in the future.
You decide what kind of golfer you are going to be as opposed to being told by others. I am not talking about becoming a completely different person or losing your own true values.
I am talking about how you act in specific contexts and environments such as the golf course where you don’t feel you are getting the best out of yourself.
The principle of ‘act as if’ has been around in the world of psychology for a long time.
‘Fake it until you make it’ is a term embedded in popular culture. Milton Erickson the renowned hypnotherapist once was quoted as saying “You can pretend anything and master it.”
I remember a wonderful series on British TV a number of years ago called ‘Faking It’.
People were plucked from their natural habitat and given just four weeks to take on a completely different persona and then fool a panel of experts.
The programme would choose people who, it seemed, were completely ill-suited for the challenge. One in particular was a chap called Maxim, who was extremely shy.
He was a chess champion, with an IQ of over 170, very introverted and tended to just be at home on his own. His challenge was to become a football coach and he was thrown into the tough, macho world of a football club.
At first, Maxim was clearly extremely uncomfortable and out of place. He wanted to give in – everything in his system told him to leave and return to his ‘normal’ persona.
We become the labels that we give ourselves. His past conditioning told him he was a cerebral chess champion who would never cut it in this alien world.
Yet he hung in there, absorbed himself in his new world and, slowly but surely, took on and became a different person.
It was always fascinating to watch just how many people managed to fool the experts because they had immersed themselves in a new label.
They had ‘become’ something different as a result of shedding their past conditioning.
There is a great story Johnny Miller tells about the time when he was one of the best golfers on the planet.
He said that when he played golf if he wanted to hit a straight one he would be Johnny Miller, if he wanted to hit a fade he would pretend to be Lee Trevino and if he wanted a draw he would be Tony Lema and he said the great thing was that he knew that there was no way all those great golfers were all going to have a bad day at the same time.
This is not about being ridiculous and pretending you can hit the ball 300 yards when your best drive is only 250.
It is about suspending the negative judgements that have been imposed on you.
We don’t have to be fixed by our past conditioning.
To change feels very uncomfortable, but if you fight through those feelings, what emerges on the other side is very liberating.
Your personality in specific situations doesn’t have to be fixed.
We can decide to become someone different than the current story we carry around with us.
When we think that we, as a human entity, are ‘made up’ of a bunch of stories, it is a great metaphor because we can actively choose to write a new script.