A great analogy I heard recently described the difference between a thermostat and a thermometer and how this could relate to our mindset. The key difference between the 2 being, a thermostat helps to create the climate, a thermometer reacts to it. You may well be thinking at this point, what on earth has this got to do with my performance on the golf course?! In essence it relates to the difference between responding or reacting to your environment versus creating the environment around you. On the golf course we can often become a little more reactive to our environment, whether it is to a shot that we have played, a playing partner, the weather or any external factor. In essence the only thing we really have control over is our internal environment. The moment we become aware of, and make a choice regarding our internal state, the less we are at the mercy of external events and in fact can begin to influence what happens around us.
‘Man is not limited by his environment, he creates his environments by his beliefs and feelings. To suppose otherwise is like thinking that the tail can wag the dog’ – Emmet Fox
If our external environment or results continually dictates how we feel, what we think and believe, the more of a roller-coaster ride of some good days, some not so good days will ensue. When we begin to take charge of our focus and if necessary, make a conscious internal shift, and it only has to be a gentle shift moving in more positive direction regardless of what is going on around us, we are far more likely to create the shift externally that we were looking for. Sometimes it need only be a simple shift in perspective such as an appreciation for the opportunity to be in the great outdoors but that shift believe it or not can have a big impact on our game! The better we feel by choosing where we place our attention, regardless of what is going on around us provides several benefits. Technically it creates a greater opportunity of making a more efficient golf swing, primarily due to reduced physical tension and a more relaxed physiology, which in turn creates a shot more closely matched to our desire. Excessive tension can greatly affect the success of a golf swing. It also becomes a far more enjoyable experience and it creates a more reliable and stable platform that we are able to tap into on a consistent basis. If we wait for a good golf shot to determine how good we feel or a perceived poor shot to determine how frustrated or uncertain we feel we are continuously at the hands of the external around us. If we always wait for a good shot before we break any pattern of frustration, anxiety or any other negative emotion that isn’t serving us it can feel a more long drawn out process. If we switch it around and we choose to create the better feeling and focus first, before the evidence arrives, there is greater opportunity of the results shifting in the direction we are after. In the words of Dr Tim Kramer, ‘When we get the inside right the outside begins to fall more effortlessly into place. (Effortlessly: with less effort, not devoid of effort!)’ Gain greater consistency and most importantly enjoyment from your game, choose to create the climate!