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Get Out of Your Own Way – Chapter 1, Part 2.

Who’s Playing The Game?

There’s a ubiquitous thought expressed by golfers worldwide:
“I need to get out of my own way.”.
Most often it is expressed by golfers who aren’t playing as well as their talent or skills levels suggest they should be.

Anyone who has played the game for more than a few minutes is well aware that the biggest challenge to improving and to playing your best isn’t the golf course, or your golf swing, or your opponent.

It’s the voice in your head. The one that pipes up with comments and advice, often at the most inappropriate moment. A narrative apparently between an entity that is playing the game and another whose main role seems to be judging how well things are going and evaluating what that might mean.

The paragraph at the start of the book is an example of such a dialogue.

In The Inner Game of Golf, one of the best-known books on the psychology of the game, author Timothy Gallwey labels this voice ‘Self One’, and the entity to whom the voice is talking ‘Self Two’.

When I read the book more than thirty years ago, I kind of got the concept he was suggesting. But I doubt many of us have ever gone beyond the concept to really enquire what is going on with this inner narrative.

Are there really two of you? If so, which one is the real you?

Who is getting in who’s way?

Is it the one doing the talking or the one listening (or being talked at)?

A Simple Thought Experiment

To begin our exploration into what might be going on, take a moment to think about the following question:

What would happen if you set aside all the things you think of as belonging to you but that aren’t really you? For example:

The voice in your head.
Your mind.
Your body.
Your golf swing.
Your putting stroke.
Your beliefs.
Your character.
Your thoughts.
Your personality.
Your feelings.
Your perceptions.
Your memories.
Your job.
Your race or nationality.
Your gender.

What would remain? Would you still be you?

Getting to the bottom of this conundrum is what this book is about.

Many golfers are understandably wary about addressing the mental side of the game. They are put off by many of the theories and concepts offered over the years by well-meaning sports psychologists and mind coaches.

These ideas are often based on third-party or anecdotal research rather than a golfer’s own, direct experience. Practices such as visualisation or affirmations often feel esoteric.

A bit ‘woo-woo’, in common parlance.

The process we will use in this book is different.

Using simple logic and reason, we will examine all available evidence to get to the truth of to whom or what we are referring when we say the words I am.

We will examine the implications for your golf of seeing that truth more clearly.

Through this book you will learn how your experience of life and golf are created, which will help you understand what is getting in the way of playing your best golf more often.

The beauty of what we are exploring in these lessons is its simplicity.

There is only one thing you really need to understand. When you understand who you really are and realise the true nature of your experience as a golfer and as a human being, many things you’ve sought and thought you’ve needed and will drop away.

Or you’ll see that they weren’t really what you wanted or needed anyway.

Whether you are struggling with consistency, lacking in composure, finding it hard to concentrate or focus, feeling nervous and anxious rather than creative and confident, or just not enjoying your golf as much as you used to, seeing through one simple misunderstanding will unlock your potential.

As you read the following chapters, I hope you might have an insight: some fresh thoughts about who you think you are and what you believe about the game of golf.

I’m going to point out something that’s true for us all but that you might not have realised was a fact of everyone’s experience of life.

Once we realise something is true, we automatically realise that some other things we may currently believe are true are actually not. These are most likely the things that are holding us back and preventing us from reaching our potential.

Truth is not a creation. Removing what isn’t true does not cause the truth. It just eliminates what was preventing the truth from being recognised.

The world didn’t go from being flat to being round when Copernicus had his insight. He just saw something others had overlooked.

Seeing truth is powerful because it immediately leads to a simplification of life and of the way you play the game of golf.

It leads to having less to worry about, less to think about. Less on your mind.

For a golfer, or any other athlete, this means you play more instinctively and with more freedom, creativity, and confidence.

You stop getting in your own way.

Let’s make a start.



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