I recently had a trip to China to put together a series of coaching videos for the Elite Golf Coaches programme out there. I was extremely fortunate to stay at Mission Hills and to say the place is jaw dropping is a complete understatement.
They have 12 golf courses in one resort, which I believe is the biggest in the world. Most of the tee-off times are full most of the days, and at weekends it is just a seething throng of enthusiastic golfers who want to play.
The country of China is fascinating as you see a mix of old fashioned communism and a thriving, bustling and energetic spirit of entrepreneurs tuning into an economy that is still booming. The sheer scale of construction and development is incredible. If you are thinking of going over there or have the opportunity do so then take the chance and don’t hesitate.
It is very different to what we are used to in the west but, as I found myself, it is really good to step out of your own world view and look at something completely different just to reset your own perceptions. We can very easily begin to think we and the way we do things is the centre of the universe. This can be very limiting as we look through the same myopic lens. Also, the people I spent time with over there were infectious with their enthusiasm. The days were long and at times challenging, but at the conclusion to each day a good feeling was had by all as we had spent the day working hard but laughing hard as well.
It only reinforced to me something I have mentioned before and that is the effect other people have on us. Those closest to us either give us energy or take energy away and sometimes when you step out of your normal world you get to see the reality of your everyday experience. On the long flight over I had the opportunity to read a book that has been getting a lot of press, both good and bad. 12 Rules for Life by Canadian psychologist Jordan Peterson, who has become something of an internet sensation after his combative interview with Cathy Newman on Channel Four News went viral. The book is not an easy read by any means – it goes at times into some very deep territory.
However, one point Peterson makes so well is that to live a meaningful life we need to aim at something. Doesn’t really matter what it is, it could be a new business, a healthier body or a lower golf handicap. The place you are aiming at is almost irrelevant as long as you are actually aiming at something. He talks about the chaos life throws at us all and how if we don’t have something to aim at we can become lost in the chaos. A direction to move in brings some order to the chaos. As he says, it is so easy to become discouraged and almost lose the ability to take aim at some of the things you really want to do.
I think golf is a perfect metaphor for this in the sense that it is very easy to let one season drift into another and we play the same golf by and large at the same place with the same people. What would you truly want to do with your game? It doesn’t have to be a handicap goal or a tournament-winning goal. It could be a goal of playing some of the Open venues. It could be to finally go on that golfing holiday you dreamed of. It could be that you just want to play more rounds.
As Peterson would say, it doesn’t matter what you aim at as long as you actually do aim. You will feel better for making the commitment. You are then much more likely to get your body moving and take action. It is action that makes us feel good, thinking about something and doing nothing just leaves us drowning in thought and feeling worse for it. It won’t be long now before the clocks change and the nights get longer. Ask yourself what could this year be like if I really gave it a go? What could you achieve?
Make a plan and decide who needs to support you in that plan. Make the investment to move towards where you really want to go. You will feel much better for it.