Indeed they are... Everywhere you look, turn or click. Everyone - anyone (part of the dilemma, eh, cowboys & cowgirls?) - somethin' to say; but never mind the legitimacy, true street cred, or real science. Look good, sound smart, max exposure & plastering.
And most importantly: what are they saying, and why (motives)? Tired of listening? Befuddled in confusion? In need of clarity? Golf, wellness, life, and more? Me too. Start by clicking below, closing your eyes for a moment, and listening to a the sounds and words of Harry Nilsson...
Distracted by the video of the opening scene of the classic movie "Midnight Cowboy?" Gotcha - and the same thing is happening when it's time to swing the stick, play a shot, or simply engage with another human being. Where, or where, has our attention gone - and what do we need to do to reclaim it?
"Everybody's talking at me
I don't hear a word they're saying
Only the echoes of my mind"
Yacking & yabbering in your ear, non-stop. For the sake of their own egos and wallets, primarily. And even though you may try to not 'hear a word they're saying,' your subconscious (the piece that's running your show) isn't missing a beat. And hence those 'echoes of your mind...'
The Paradox of Choice and The Need for Clarity
Ain't it cool to have autonomy and freedom of choice? The freedom to broadcast at the tap of a thumb to the unassuming (and oft vulnerable, impressionable and desperate) masses, the fantabulous places we're visiting, golf courses we're playing, and rock stars we're spending time with - all behind the mask of growing one's business and/or brand?
Really? You buying that tall tale along with somebody's 'shtick du jour' about how to hit it further, putt & chip it fewer, and live happier and healthier?
In a time and place of data, stats and trends, have you seen the frightening #'s re the depression, anxiety and suicidal tendencies Social Media and its soiled cousins are creating? I'm educated guessing you have; chosen to ignore, like a weak spot in your game..??
Though modern Americans - us golfers included - have more choices than any group of people ever has before, and thus, presumably, more freedom and autonomy, we don't seem to be benefiting from it psychologically. And your golf game - mind, body & spirit - is suffering the consequences.
Golf-wise, click above for the most recent ranking/ratings of top teachers in your state, from my colleagues at Golf Digest Magazine. I'm thankful & honored once again (since 2004) to be included. Yet, heed the following bullets before being shot down by midnight cowboy teachers who spend more time pimping, posting and pandering on the ever-distracting blue-lit screens - rather than out in the 'teaching trenches' helping real people play better golf:
- Inquire about pedigree and preference - aka, do a 'background' check of sorts. Smooth-talkin' character full of iffy concepts? Adios.
- Method teacher drinking the latest and greatest cool-aid. Not thirsty.
- Work with Tour players? Impressive - but you (and I) have neither the talent nor the time of a Tour player. So... See Ya.
- Proper physical assessment or screen in evaluating your golf swing, like those done with TPI professionals. Otherwise - hasta luego.
- Still competing and trying to improve themselves - or sitting around reminiscing? Sitting is of course, the new smoking. No thanks.
Mind/sanity wise, how about some early December reading? Click below - your choice, is it not?
And my most sincere apologies to the illiterate (as well as to the truly caring & hard-working teachers/golf guides who did not make the Golf Digest list). Author Barry Schwartz' TED Talk, below.
"People stopping, staring
I can't see their faces
Only the shadows of their eyes"
Stillness is the key (Amen, Ryan Holiday) - so STOP, people - for a few precious moments each and every day. Ain't it cool (Part II) to find something, like this game we love and the little white ball we chase, that sees neither race, creed, color or religion?
That's how important stillness is to us all... a few words from Mr. Holiday's recent offering (entirety procurable by clicky-clickying on cover further south):
"The Buddhist word for it was upekkha. The Muslims spoke of aslama. The Hebrews, hishtavut. The second book of the Bhagavad Gita, the epic poem of the warrior Arjuna, speaks of samatvam, an “evenness of mind—a peace that is ever the same.” The Greeks, euthymia and hesychia. The Epicureans, ataraxia. The Christians, aequanimitas.
In English: stillness. To be steady while the world spins around you. To act without frenzy. To hear only what needs to be heard. To possess quietude—exterior and interior—on command.
Stillness is that quiet moment when inspiration hits you. It’s that ability to step back and reflect. It’s what makes room for gratitude and happiness. It’s one of the most powerful forces on earth. We all need stillness, but those of us charging ahead with big plans and big dreams need it most of all.
Still, the word “stillness” can feel vague or ephemeral. It doesn’t need to be. There are, in fact, concrete and actionable ways to bring it into your life. It doesn’t just happen. You have to put in the work. You have to follow the guidance of the masters."
Remember: "Everybody's Talkin'" - and your head is spinning, on and off the links. A trio of actionable ways from the author, that are - dare I say - inherent to your adventure in the golf park (and yes I dare - CS tidbits within)
CS: Alas - you already are! Is that not what the game of golf revolves around, at the end of the day? A walk in a beautiful setting (my 'homeland' of Eugene Country Club, just below), whilst playing a game. And, what makes a walk more enjoyable? Well, the appropriate coverings for your feetsies, of course.. Click below for some offerings from my peeps at Nike Golf.
Nikola Tesla discovered the rotating magnetic field, one of the most important scientific discoveries of all time, on a walk through a city park in Budapest in 1882. When he lived in Paris, Ernest Hemingway would take long walks along the quais whenever he was stuck in his writing and needed to clarify his thinking. The cantankerous philosopher Søren Kierkegaard walked the streets of Copenhagen nearly every afternoon, as he wrote to his sister-in-law: “Every day I walk myself into a state of well-being.”
See The World Like An Artist
Marcus Aurelius, who is supposedly this dark, depressive Stoic, seems to have seen beauty everywhere. Why else would he write so vividly of the ordinary, re “stalks of ripe grain bending low, the frowning brow of the lion, the foam dripping from the boar’s mouth”? While other people are oblivious to (or overwhelmed by) what surrounds them, we want to practice really seeing. Try to notice the little things. Look at that tree like you’re a painter and trying to understand its essence. An artist must be present. An artist must notice. An artist is still.
CS: Whaa...??? You thought the endeavor known as 'golf' was about the technical, the search for perfection, and optimization? You claim to be a "feel player" - so just where is the feel? Are you painting pictures of how you want your golf ball to behave, and of intentions of success in your mind - or stuck in some position, ideal or vector?
That stick in your hand is your paintbrush, the ball your colorful dash of paint, the scenario in front of you the canvas; you did go to art class in grade school, didn't you? Pay attention to the ever-changing climatic conditions you're bathing in. Be present for the only shot you have - the next one. Take note via your five senses (yes, you can taste them..) of the sheer beauty of your surroundings.
Detach From Outcomes
Archery master Awa Kenzo spent little time teaching his students how to deliberately aim and shoot. What Kenzo wanted students to do was to put the thought of hitting the target out of their minds. He wanted them to detach even from the idea of an outcome. “The hits on the target," he would say “are only the outward proof and confirmation of your purposelessness at its highest, of your egolessness, your self-abandonment, or whatever you like to call this state.” You must learn how to let go and let the process take over.
CS: Oh, but you're concerned about the result, the score - and worst of all - what you need. Expectations abound. And like most, you think you control far more than you do.. Those needs are controlling you (thank you, Dr. Crews :)). Replace those with what you want, give up control in order to better control the golf ball, and lighten that hold on your golf steering wheel for a change. You are in charge, but you are not in 100 % control of the outcome, boys & girls; you ready, able and willing to embrace the mystery and adventure of a round of golf?
You in need of some direction in the golf realm, like our wandering twosome up top? Sure, everybody's talkin' - but have they looked you in the eye, actually seen you swing a club, and play the game? I wonder...
I'm here to assist as able. At Eugene Country Club, or a golf venue near you.
"A wealth of information creates a poverty of attention"
-- Herbert Simon