Friday, November 14, 2014

Life lessons learnt from watching my daughter play golf ..

For the last 4 years every year from the 30 th of July to the 2 nd of August , I have seen so much angst and nervousness amongst 7 to 12 year olds that it makes me think how we are so driven by success ..
Pinehurst - the home of American Golf is the host of US. Kids Golf World Championship . Every year over a 1000 children come to Pinehurst with hopes and dreams of becoming the best Golfers in their age category.
The first time that we went there was 4 years ago and I remember the nervousness that Inara experienced when she stood at the 1st Tee to hit that golf ball. I could feel her nervousness and not only hers but every participant there was full of anxiety, fear and hope. It was like a veil of anxiousness all around.
With every passing year it has gotten better for us but it is still quite nerve wracking.
I watched from the sidelines as my little child went through all the emotions of pain and joy.
It was the same story everywhere. Fear, nervousness, anticipation, jubilation, all emotions running rife.
Inara did Ok not as good as she could have or should have but I am sure she did her best or at least she tried. Isn't that good enough? Isn't it good enough to play the game and not play just to Win? My husband disagrees with me. According to him, one must play to win or at least try to win.
Why are we all so driven by success? Success at any cost! I can understand how it must feel to win, when all eyes are on you and everyone is congratulating you. It must feel great, but should our happiness depend on how we perform and then how the world sees us?
I could see the sadness and the disappointment in the eyes of the children who did not do as well as they hoped for.
Golf is so much like life. Once you hit the ball you have no control over it. All you can do is play the next shot as best as you can. There is no point dwelling on the previous shot and thinking what you should have could have done. Of course you can think about what you could have done differently to get a better shot but what is the point of mulling over it for the next three holes and ruining the rest if the game. The key is to shake yourself off the previous bad shot and focus on the next.
We all do the same in our life. We keep mulling over what we did in the past. We keep thinking about how we could have, should have done things differently. Our minds are in a constant state of flux. The constant inner chatter prevents us from listening to the voice of reason.
My 12 year old daughter was being extremely hard on herself. I tried my best to encourage her to breathe slowly and deeply and move to the next hole without dwelling on the previous but I think it was not that easy for her. She carried the emotions with her, and seeing her in distress was extremely heart breaking for me.
Fortunately the three days of competition did end and luckily Inara did recover from the setback of not doing that well. Life too is full of setbacks and mostly we do recover. Every failure or setback makes us better and stronger. I am personally glad that she is experiencing failure. Because of the game she is learning to face disappointment, she is learning that one bad shot does not necessarily mean the end. Every shot is another chance. She is learning to look back and see what she did wrong and what she needs to do differently. A tiny deviation in the swing can lead to a major deviation in the ball landing, just as a small decision can make a big impact, but once the ball is in the air it won’t change course, the key is to play the next shot smartly. Similarly our life is not in our hand, we think we make decisions but mostly our decisions are already made for us. The key is to play every shot as well as we can and know in our hearts that all that happens really does happen for the best.

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