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Golfing outside your comfort zone

By Sue Ellen Haning
Columnist

“If you see the world in black and white, you’re missing some grey matter.” —  Jack Fyock, social psychologist.

“Class time. Everyone take out your pencils and a clean sheet of paper. Notes will be graded, so listen up.

“We shall begin with the game of golf. Grip the putter any way you want. It is preferable if your fingers touch the grip. Run your right forefinger down the shaft. Lead with your left. Think as little as possible. Focus on rolling the ball, not hitting it. Push the ball. Don’t stare at the ball. Close your eyes, then putt. Relax. Draw an imaginary line from the ball to the cup. Now, hole it.”

The above is a plethora of perspectives on successful putting. There are probably a million more, just ask any golfer.

The person who is not willing to see a different perspective while playing golf will not be part of the Masters or the U.S. Open anytime soon.

It behooves you to get more than one perspective on what’s going on between the ball and the cup. You might even get down on the ground to eyeball the path. Then you do the same from the other side of the cup. Can you see any obstacles or slight turns in the path? What is the grass telling you? How will speed affect the putt given the lay of the land?

You want to see everything you can see between your ball and its target. A general understanding of physics may help, as well. Success is about perspective, or rather the ability to see from different perspectives and meld them.

Business deals are sealed on the golf course, people fall in love, promotions are granted, wars averted and more. I understand that golf is the most important game. We might do well to take golf’s lessons into our everyday lives.

Is your perspective all you can see? Do you think others are amiss in the way they perceive things? If investigating differing perspectives in your golf game takes you outside your comfort zone, well, maybe you need more than a different perspective … like a 2×4 across your head!

If you wish to win at golf or at the game of life, as many perspectives taken into consideration as possible will help immensely. When games and competition are involved, it seems easier to reach for different perspectives than it does in day to day life because we’re out for blood in our competitive games and will do just about anything to win. Can we look at life as a game? How many perspectives can we gather to ace this game?

Unfortunately, some of us have the mentality of a combat soldier, no matter our life’s endeavors. This extreme focus can disrupt our ability to take in other perspectives. (May I insert a huge thank you right now to all who have been soldiers for this great country, I am forever grateful for your service. Thank you, thank you, thank you.)

Do you respond to life like it is war? Can you see life as a unique gift that comes with opportunities to deeply experience and enjoy? Can you think positively about something negative that has happened in your life? You may be disappointed, devastated, depressed, but an alternative perspective could make a huge difference. Try it. If you can think about a situation in a different way, maybe you can respond to it differently.

This week, see how many different perspectives you can come up with concerning just one challenge you meet. Make every effort to see it from five different angles. Ask others including children how they see the same situation. This requires an open mind and will take practice.  Are you up for it? Sure you are. Bust through that comfort zone like a true nut.

Here are some different perspectives on everyday things that I hope you can stop and think about, possibly adding a third perspective to each.

• Is the glass half empty, half full, or simply twice as large as it needs to be?

• When someone asks you into their garden, maybe they want their flowers to see you.

• Is the organ donor giving up part of themself to keep another alive, or is the recipient giving up all of themself to keep a small part of the donor alive?

• Was the play a failure or was the audience a failure?

• Does an army retreat or just advance in another direction?

• Definition: saint, n. a dead sinner revised and edited (taken from “The Devil’s Dictionary 1911,” by Ambrose Bierce).

• The gift giver knows what he has given, but he doesn’t know what the receiver received.

• Balanced diet: a cookie in each hand.

• Do you get mad when you get a traffic ticket or do you rejoice that the system works?

What we see really depends on what we are looking for. If someone says you are not able to do something, don’t believe them. It’s just their skewed perspective. You are more than even your own perspective grants you. In successful nutsville, our M.O. is taking a different way, looking at what everyone else does and doing the opposite. Join me next time for “Nuts and their odds.” Until then, keep stretching your comfort zone in every direction. Be nutty, and pat yourself on the back every day and gaze in the mirror with a smile and say, “I love you.”

“He who cannot change the very fabric of his thought will never be able to change reality and will never, therefore, make any progress.” — Anwar Sadat, third Egyptian president and Nobel Peace Prize winner

sueellen.haning@gmail.com

This story was posted on May 30, 2013.