Your Harshest Critic


Human beings criticize themselves more than any other species on the planet. Did you ever notice that animals dont criticize themselves for doing something wrong? When a dog chews up the newspaper do you think it feels badly or walks around criticizing itself for two weeks afterwards? I doubt it. We, however, might not only criticize ourselves for doing things we think are wrong or bad but we also have the capacity to criticize ourselves over a long period of time! Nobody abuses us like we abuse ourselves and this can be especially true on the golf course.
Arthur Ashe, a great Tennis champion once said:
You are never playing an opponent, you are playing yourself, your own high standards and when you reach your limits; that is real joy!
Your own high standards can be both a curse and a blessing depending on how your respond to them and how your develop yourself to meet your high standards. Unfortunately, many golfers use their high personal standards as a springboard to allow the voice of the inner critic to surface again and again. The critic within us sits in waiting for any opportunity to lash out and attack. It lurks underneath looking for situations that trigger you to harshly judge yourself and belittle yourself.
Harsh self-criticism is the ultimate set-up for failure and a sure fire way to suffer on the golf course. In my opinion, it is the highest representation of a lack of self-respect. Think about this for a moment. Would you lash out at someone else the way you judge and criticize yourself? When I pose this question to clients they generally respond with No Way!. Nobody else would accept such an attack so why do we? Your self-criticism has the same effect on you as it does if you criticized others in the same way. It creates tension, anxiety and disapproval. Harsh self criticism creates a strong force of negative energy and disharmony within the mind, body and emotions. The negative effects of self-criticism are:
  • Lack of self-trust
  • Lack of self-respect
  • Lack of confidence
    We display our self-criticism using phrases like:
  • Im not good enough
  • I cant believe I keep missing this shot
  • I never shoot a good score
  • Im a failure
  • Im just not good enough. Period!
    How often does your critic show up? Is your critic harsh or is it supportive?
    Here are a few things to remember when your critic appears:
  • The critic is only a PART of you; not all of you
    When the critic shows up it tends to overwhelm everything else. However, the reality is that the critic is only one small part of you. Put the critic in its place!
  • Substitute the word I with the word That
    When the critic shows up it tends to get very personal. Get rid of the word I and replace it with that. For example; instead of Im no good change it to that was no good. Try saying both statements right now. Notice the difference in your body between the two statements?
  • Embrace your critic!
    Criticism in and of itself is not bad, Its only when it becomes harsh and poisonously personal that it negatively affects you. Back off and let the critic help you learn something about yourself. What do you need to develop, improve or change? Call your local golf pro and consider developing your all around mental game as well. The critic is telling you something!
    To your best golf!
    Note: Please contact David directly via email ( to learn more about the Executive Golf program for committed golfers, the FlowZone At Work corporate program and the Performance Based Program designed for personal coaching with David ON THE GOLF COURSE!
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    Copyright 2004 David Breslow. David is the author of Wired To Win and offers a highly acclaimed Perform In The FlowZone' program no matter where you live or play. David has appeared on The Golf Channel, ESPN radio, etc. For more programs/services/products or sign up for a free newsletter (write newsletter in subject box). Also, review the new series of Performance Training Manuals available online! Contact: David Breslow at 847.681.1698 Email: or visit the web: For book orders call toll free: 1.888.280.7715