Let’s take a breather and talk about having compassion for your mistakes as an athlete, and a person.

This show is me sharing assortment of thoughts inspired by my Speedgolf mentor Christopher Smith. Stay tuned for three fantastic interview shows with Christopher in the near future, covering topics like how to cultivate an ideal mindset for peak performance, the latest in brain research as applied to athletic performance, and the importance of leading a balanced life. Christopher is the greatest Speedgolfer ever, a master of this crazy sport such that he has played countless rounds under par in under an hour. He is the Guinness World Record holder for the lowest Speedgolf score, shooting a 65 in 44 minutes (Speedgolf score of 109) in Chicago in 2005. He came thru under the pressure of a single-take film production with a large crew looking to capture the essence of Speedgolf for a CBS promotion. On that particular day in 2012 at the world-renowned Bandon Dunes Golf Course, Christopher shot an astonishing four-under par 68 in 53 minutes. Enjoy this high-speed video of one of the greatest golf rounds of all time, every shot captured in only a few minutes. Worth watching!

Christopher writes a thoughtful newsletter at ChristopherSmithGolf.com with commentary that extends far beyond golf instruction into the philosophy of living a healthy, happy life and optimal golf experience. One of his key teaching principles is to “have compassion for your mistakes” out on the golf course. Oh man, during a playing lesson with him one day in Portland, he had to remind me of this idea several times on the occasions of my habitual verbal outbursts after bad shots! Most everything Christopher talks about in the golf context translates well into any other peak performance endeavor in life—pursuing an education, a career, being a parent, or pursuing any healthy eating or exercise goal.  

Here is an excerpt from Christopher’s recent email newsletter:  

Self-critic alive and well?  I understand, and so does Adam Phillips, English psychoanalytical writer. This self-critical part of ourselves, Phillips points out, is ‘strikingly unimaginative’ — a relentless complainer whose repertoire of tirades is so redundant as to become, to any objective observer, risible and tragic at the same time: 

{Phillips quote}: Were we to meet this figure socially, as it were, this accusatory character, this internal critic, we would think there was something wrong with him. He would just be boring and cruel. We might think that something terrible had happened to him. That he was living in the aftermath, in the fallout of some catastrophe. And we would be right.” 

Ouch man!! Could you say this stuff honors the theme of Get Over Yourself kinda sorta? If you can do it on the golf course, you can have a growth experience that translates into the rest of your life. Ditto if the self-critic is flourishing—what you do on the golf course are character-revealing insights that play out in all other areas of life. A great article in golfsouthwest.com quotes Tobias Schreiber, a licensed professional therapist in Augusta, GA: “Golf and business are both competitive arenas,” he says. “Any trait you see in a person repeatedly on the golf course is probably part of their personality and carries over into other aspects of their lives.” 

Schreiber identifies a few golf course personality types in the article. See if you can relate to any of these:

The Rager: “Rage is an infantile emotion — a primal defense against feelings of weakness,” Schreiber says. “Rageful people are actually age-regressing and acting out frozen emotions. Rage usually masks deeper feelings. Such people are often infuriated at their own sense of vulnerability and inadequacies.” Schreiber echoes another teaching principle of Christopher’s where you want to cultivate an optimal level of arousal and focus depending on your sport. Golf requires careful management of emotions at all times, unlike the more aggressive sports like fighting or endurance racing where you can just floor the gas pedal and excel. Schreiber explains that Ragers tend to do the same things, particularly to subordinates.  

The Obsessor: Instead of outbursts, the obsessor internalizes things. Schreiber says, “They are not living in real time. Instead of shaking off a bad shot and moving on, obsessors tend to replay it again and again in their minds, chastising themselves for poor performance in a kind of mental self-flagellation. They focus on the negative. Golfers who ruminate about their play are likely to micromanage in a business environment. They don’t like to delegate because they fear no one can do the job right.” 

The Sulker: “Sulkers don’t have a healthy view of themselves in relation to the natural frustrations of life. They tend to feel persecuted by the same minor problems that plague us all,” Mr. Schreiber says. “They exaggerate the importance of small things and focus on the negative. Sulkers really want sympathy and nurturing, but their behavior actually has the opposite effect. It pushes people away. This means they are fixated on the end results rather than enjoying the course, the camaraderie, and the weather. Golf, for them, becomes just another stressor.” 

Here are some questions from Christopher as it pertains to your efforts on the golf course, or any other peak performance endeavor really:  

1.  Did you do your very best (no – not just try - DO)?  Plan, focus as befits you, and give it your all?  Or, did you go at it half-assedly, ‘hoping’ the ball and the round were going to mythically cooperate? 

2.  Did you trust and follow your gut, your instinct, your intuition - or did you abide by some supposed smarty-pants’ rules, regulations & rigamarole? 

3.  Why do you play the game in the first place?  Bragging rights are your low index?  Nourish the narcissist?  Or to relish the walk in the countryside (the golf course, people), the camaraderie, or the challenge to self? 

If you not golfer please plug these insights into your role as a student or parent or career track. Oh mercy, when I was a college student I stressed about grades the whole time and took accounting courses I was not interested in because of the economic prospects. I lasted in my accounting career for only 11.5 weeks before quitting to pursue my dream as a triathlete. With my kids, both college students, I try hard to emphasize the importance of enjoying the educational journey and not stressing about grades or where one’s career is headed before it even starts. For anything to do with parenting in today’s age of the helicopter parent/entitled child, it’s really helpful to ask yourself questions like these and listen to your intuition instead of caving into the measuring and judging forces of the modern world. Enjoy some exposure to the musings of Christopher Smith, with more feature-length podcasts coming soon with the Speedgolf King! 

LINKS: 

What your golf game reveals about your personality: http://www.golfsw.com/profiles/sosnin1.html

LISTEN:

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Welcome to the get over yourself podcast. This is Brad Kearns. I cover Health, Fitness, Peak Performance, personal growth, relationships, happiness , Welcome to the get over yourself podcast. This is Brad Kern’s I cover Health Fitness Peak Performance personal growth relationships happiness and Longevity. So slow down take a deep breath take a cold plunge and pursue your competitive goals in all areas of life with great intensity and passion but release your attachment to the outcome and learn to have fun along the way. That’s the theme of the show. Here we go. 

 

This is Brad Kearns. welcome to the Breather show many people agree. My voice is exactly like Anthony Kiedis of the Chili Peppers turn in your feelings are burning you’re breaking the girl agree disagree send your comments to get over yourself podcast at gmail.com.  

 

And now on with the show and man my golf Guru my mentor Christopher Smith the greatest speed golfer of all time operating out of Eugene Country Club these days and writing a fabulously wonderful newsletter, which you should sign up for at Christopher Smith golf.com. He’s a big music fan. So we had to do the proper intro there and you will hear more from him. 

 

We did actually three separate podcast during a binge session when I visited his wonderful home in Eugene, Oregon had a lot of great times and great insights from this guy, of course, everything is framed in golf because he is a teacher of golf and a lifelong competitor, but the insights that he communicates in his newsletter apply to all manner of Peak Performance goals in life. So in teaching me to become a better golfer one of his Maxim’s that he has to repeat to me is to have compassion for your mistakes out there on the golf course, because that heightened intensity that comes when you get fired up and allow your emotions to spike. Well that might help you in the boxing ring. If you’re a rocky. I know as a triathlete when I got frustrated, I would just put the gas pedal on harder. 

 

And speed to the front of the pack or whatever just opening up the throttle and unleashing that rock competitive intensity to my benefit but in golf, oh man big difference, you have to manage your emotions at all times. I almost said you have to stay calm but Christopher corrects me where we don’t want to stay calm because that doesn’t indicate the proper competitive intensity. We want to stay focused perhaps relaxed, but in that competitive mindset with a stable emotional state rather than a explosive emotional state. 

 

It’s tough man. It’s tough to have compassion for your mistakes when you’re trying really hard and you’ve practiced really hard and you want to play well and I just returned from 2018 World speed golf championships my fourth visit there. I did pretty crappy for the first couple days. I was very frustrated because I’d practice so hard and then I go out there to the course the competitive is setting and can’t execute in the manner that I intended. Oh, I learned something from that to which is Christopher’s maximum of context specificity where you want to simulate the competitive experience is exactly as possible in training to properly prepare yourself for Peak Performance. We’re going to do a whole show surrounding themes like that. But a brief tidbit here is you got to put yourself under that same competitive pressure that you face in practice. Otherwise, the practice will not translate well into competitive success. So I realized that I hadn’t really played a full on. 

 

Full speed competitive speed golf round hardly ever in practice. I usually go out there and jog, I don’t want to be too strenuous. I might hit an extra practice shot here and there if I don’t like my shot and I have a nice time and I finished nine holes before dark, but now I’ve been getting up first thing in the morning man. First guy out there on the course playing the entire 18 holes in a tournament like setting hitting only one ball and keeping score and keep in time. And this has vastly more value and competitive application than my Breezy evening rounds or even spending an hour on the Range hitting a hundred golf balls. I’m better off hitting seven or eight or twelve drives Under Pressure rather than a full bucket of balls. Anyway back to the story about the having compassion for your mistakes and watching out for your self critic. So Christopher’s newsletter. 

 

Talking about this commentary I’m going to quote is your self critic alive. And well, I understand and so does Adam Phillips English psychoanalytical writer Christopher continues the self critical part of ourselves Phillips points out is quote strikingly unimaginative a Relentless complainer whose repertoire of tirades is so redundant as to become to any objective Observer risible and tragic at the same time. Oh, man. Here’s quoting from Phillips in Christopher’s newsletter. 

 

Where we can meet this figure socially as it were this accusatory character this internal critic. He’s talking about our own internal critic. Are you with me? We would think there was something wrong with this person. He would be just boring and cruel. We might think that something terrible had happened to him that he was living in the aftermath in the Fallout of some catastrophe and we would be right and quote. Ouch man. How’s your self critic doing? What kind of stories do you tell yourself every day? I know I have these outbursts on the golf course, sometimes they surprise me at their level of intensity and of I saw another quote from somebody not sure if it was Christopher, but it was something to the effect of when you have a temper tantrum on the golf course, you are trying to convince the other golfers that you think you better than you really are. Did I get that right in other words? You’re just putting on an act 

 

Act so that everyone observing will know that that terrible shot you just hit is completely out of character and that you usually make pars. Oh man, and they’ve been talking a long time ever since Mark McCormick’s great book in the early 80s what they don’t teach you at Harvard Business School is the title. They’ve been talking a long time about how the golf course brings out personality insights like no other place. It’s like the ultimate location for a job interview because your true character emerges due to the competitive nature the the personal intensity of what you’re doing trying to navigate a course and also to work with people in your foursome and have the the social connection as well. There’s a great article in golf southwest.com website about golf being a window to the soul a licensed therapist from Augusta, Georgia Tobias Schreiber ways. 

 

And quote golf and business are both competitive arenas any trait you see in a person repeatedly on the golf course is probably part of their personality and Carries over into other aspects of their lives and quote interesting. So when we’re in a job interview, we can mask all kinds of crazy things about our personality including our penchant for emotional raging outbursts or feeling sorry for ourselves and telling stories and those things come out in the workplace overtime. You’re like, why did I hire this person there such a drag but one round of golf that was McCormick statement that when he was thinking of doing business with someone he’d invite them for a round of golf and that would be a vastly better assessment. Then I think the quote was hundreds of hours of business meetings in the boardroom. So Schreiber’s article goes on to identify certain personality types on the golf course, and again making the point each time that this stuff plays out into other areas of life. So pay attention even 

 

If you’re not a golfer, the first one is the rager quote rage is an infantile emotion a primal defense against feelings of weakness. Rageful people are actually age regressing and acting out Frozen emotions rage usually masks deeper feelings. Such people are often infuriated at their own sense of vulnerability and inadequacies end quote. Ouch, man, and of course when you rage as I talked about briefly in any sport Schreiber notes, there’s an Optimum level of arousal that can actually improve your play. So remember I said, you don’t want to be calm and relaxed on the golf course Christopher corrected me there what you want to have is that optimal level of arousal where you’re focused your intent you’re looking at your target you’re concentrating but you don’t let emotions get the better of you and Schreiber says quote in golf. 

 

Optimal level of arousal is very low because the game requires precision and control if you pass that bar if you exceed that bar, it’s downhill all the way because anger is so self-defeating to the golfer obviously in the workplace the Rangers play out with those outbursts, especially taking things out on people with less power that leads us to the next category the obsessor the obsessors internalize their emotions. It’s not as visible as the angry outbursts, but it’s equally disruptive says the article and then the quote from Schreiber the obsessor is not living in real time instead of shaking off a bad shot and moving on they replay it again and again in their minds chastising themselves for poor performance in a kind of mental self flagellation. They focus on the negative. They think if they hit a bad shot there a bad person and then the observation in the workplace or in other arenas golfers who ruminate about their play are likely to micromanage in a business environment. They don’t like too delicate because they fear no one can do the job. Right? Next is The Sire. No, just kidding. That was me sighing because so far I’m doing okay, but I’m noticing a tiny bit of myself. Sometimes at my worst, of course, and we’re all looking at how we can be better when we’re at our worst. When we’re at our back against the wall type of thing when we’re playing very poorly or having a really rough day. There will be a little bit of Rage. I’ll go a little bit into that category a little bit into the obsessor category where I’m ruminating about my bad shots and the next category is sulker quote soldiers don’t have a healthy view of themselves in relation to the Natural frustrations of Life. They tend to feel persecuted by the same minor problems that plague us. All Schreiber says they 

 

To rate the importance of small things and focus on the negative suckers really want sympathy and nurturing but their behavior actually has the opposite effect. It pushes people away and in real life. This means they’re fixated on end results rather than enjoying the course the camaraderie and the weather golf for them becomes just another stressor. Oh mercy. That is the saddest one. I think and Christopher takes great aim at the sulker as a recurring theme in many of his newsletters. If you’re not out there able to enjoy your beautiful walk in nature. That is a golf round man. You have your head screwed on the wrong way and I can recall as a younger person with my competitive intensity less regulated than it is today. I definitely had a little of that going on at times where I was just miserable because I was having a bad round and I feel like I’ve grown out of it now where I have a bad break on the golf course and doesn’t bother me in the slightest. 

 

Or when we wake up on the day of the world championships and we’re looking at nearly freezing rain and horrible conditions on the course. I smile and say gosh, I’m glad I’m running because I’d be really cold if I was playing regular Golf and things like the weather never bother me. So I’m going to give myself a little bit of plus points in the sulker category and try to work on the episodes of rage and obsessing trying to have that compassion for my mistakes and here are some final closing questions from Christopher out of his article asking yourself these hard questions as it pertains to your efforts on the golf course, but again plug these into your role as a parent or as a peak performer in the workplace or as a student number one. Did you do your very best? 

 

No, not just try but actually do your very best. Did you plan did you focus in the manner that befits you did you give it your all or did you go about it half-assedly hoping the ball and the round we’re going to mythically cooperate. Oh, that’s a good one because we can always back slide into this. Hey, I’m doing the best I can and then everyone backs off from their constructive criticism or the pressure that they exert on you and it’s such a throwaway line because you have to Define that carefully and in terms of preparing for a competitive experience like a golf round. Hey, man. Did you get out there? Did you warm up? Did you look at the course? Did you put in the proper hours of practice to align with your expectations encountered a lot of dreamers on the professional Triathlon circuit? I can tell you that right now where they were heading to these races obviously in vastly inferior Fitness or competitive caliber. 

 

The people they were hoping to beat somehow maybe praying they would all have a bad day here get flat tires or something, but you got to have realistic competitive expectations man. I love listening to Lance Armstrong interviews during his reign as Tour de France champion and everyone saw him as a cocky guy and his Swagger and all that. But if you listen carefully to a lot of those interviews, they’d ask these leading questions. Like do you think that you’re going to be able to beat everybody in the mountains tomorrow and he would very often say I don’t know but I’m really prepared and I’ve worked really hard but he always had the internal reference rather than the Swagger and the irresponsible commentary that we see is commonplace in these other sports where they’re just talking trash and it’s may or may not be backed up but it means nothing in Australia. They had a saying that was used a lot of times on the triathlon scene when the flag drops the bull 

 

It stops, you know, the flag drops to start the race. Yeah, you get it. Okay. So Christopher number one. Did you actually do your very best not just try but actually do it number two. Did you trust and follow your gut Your Instinct your Intuition or did you abide by some supposed smartypants rules regulations and rigmarole who you know what I reflect on this one in the parenting role man, because there’s so many crazy forces out there in today’s world the age of the helicopter parent and the child at the center of the universe who can do no wrong in the parents fight their battles for them and clear their path for their easy path through life and the misplaced competitive intensity in the areas of academics and Hugh Sports and it all gets to be so crazy that it can sometimes cause you to second-guess your own intuition. 

 

Like this seems like bullshit. It seems kind of crazy that the soccer games weren’t canceled when we have a stage 1 smog alert things like that. So I remember many of those times where I had to really check myself and sit down quietly and realize that my intuition was telling me something really important and I needed to honor it despite going against social pressures and Convention. How’s that number three? Why do you play the game in the first place bragging rights about your low handicap to nourish The Narcissist inside or to relish a walk in the countryside that would be the golf course people and also the camaraderie and the challenge to self summarizing number one. Did you do your very best not just try but do including Advanced planning and preparation getting yourself into that optimal level of arousal for the competitive circumstance number two. Did you trust and follow your gut your 

 

Instinct in your Intuition or did you abide by the silly conventions of society in the pressures and forces outside that are measuring and judging us and number three. Why do you play the game in the first place bragging rights nourishing The Narcissist or relishing the experience the walk in the countryside the camaraderie and the challenge to self? Thank you so much for listening. Good luck out there on the golf course if you happen to play golf and good luck doing every other Peak Performance endeavor. 

 

 

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