The Power of Optimism

It was quite a busy week for my little family last week. I was able to play two rounds on Tuesday and Thursday, I made a two-hour drive on Wednesday to be on a friend’s podcast (https://bohutchpowerhour.podbean.com/), my girlfriend graduated from college on Friday, and we spent the weekend celebrating her achievement and Mother’s Day (happy belated Mother’s Day to all of the wonderful moms out there). During the entire week, I noticed a common feeling that recurred on a number of occasions that I wanted to dive into a little further. That feeling was optimism and I am curious to know what your thoughts are on the power of optimism – especially as it relates to the game of golf.

One of the things I find most interesting about the game of golf is how a single round is made up of 18 (or nine) individual battles and each subsequent battle is made up of individual shots. After every swing, you have to make the journey to where your ball landed, reset your thought process, and make your next swing. Every hole presents new challenges, new strategies and new outcomes. It doesn’t matter if you’re playing the same course for the 100th time because no two outings are the same and no two shots are the same.

When I played last week, I found myself giddy throughout the entire day leading up to my tee time. I could not wait to be on the course and I was optimistic about the prospect of playing, and hopefully, playing well. Then, when I arrived at the course and went through my warm-up routine, I noticed that anticipation began to build and that had to be because of the fact that I was so close to starting my round. Finally, once I stepped up to the first tee, that optimism reached its peak. It feels like you have an endless amount of possibilities for how the round will play out because for each round, that optimism resets on each tee box, regardless of how the previous hole developed. And that’s a powerful theme that I recognized as it sprung up throughout the week (in between the tequila shots). As my girlfriend begins her next chapter in life, she is full of optimism. It’s as if she’s completed the first few holes and is preparing to tee off for her next adventure.

I also think it is very easy to get caught up in the momentum of the round, just as it’s easy to get caught up in the momentum of our day-to-day lives. If you’re playing well then you can build on that momentum and ride the wave for as long as it lasts (usually for me, it doesn’t last very long). And if you are playing poorly, the same thing happens. It feels like every swing is difficult and you are struggling just to make bogeys. But the results on each hole (and each day) are ultimately inconsequential because after just a couple more swings, you get to try again with a fresh start.

The parallels between the game of golf and our everyday lives are amazing and I think that is part of the reason why I enjoy the game so much, even if it’s on a sub-conscience level. We have so many opportunities on the golf course to reset and try again. Every round, every hole, every swing is a new opportunity to tweak your approach and between all of the complexities of your swing mechanics, judging wind speeds, or reading greens, there is something simple that keeps us going – optimism.

What’s next?

Please comment and let me know what your thoughts are on the power of optimism. I would love to hear your opinions. Later this week or this weekend, I will be publishing my next interview so be on the lookout for that piece. If you haven’t already, please sign up via email to receive alerts about when my posts go public and feel free to share this page with your friends – the more the merrier! Until next time…good hunting!

-Ben

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2 thoughts on “The Power of Optimism

  1. The power of optimism often turns to anxiety as I get closer to Thursday, the day I play golf. During the drive to the course, I’m trying to analytically play the holes in my head. Once there, and after I warm up, I approach the tee with anticipation. Taking a few breaths and calculating all the possibilities in my head, I decide on which shot will give me the right angle to take the next shot( always thinking one shot ahead). As in life, there are so many opportunities and approaches to each situation and the same situation may have a different approach the next time it arises. That’s why I love golf also, the peace and serenity as you walk from hole to hole gives you time to make the right decisions and appreciate the scenery and opportunities that await you.

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    1. That’s well said, Jeff! It’s amazing how something as simple as the direction of the wind can alter our approach on the course and the same can be said for life. Sometimes it’s something as simple as smiling or saying thank you that can impact the rest of the “round”. Thanks again for reading – it means the world to me that people are interested in what I have to say.

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