In many of the Eastern traditions such as Taoism, Buddhism or any of the other mind/body traditions the ego is addressed as the part of us that can cause pain or suffering. This holds true on the golf course as well. The ego is interested in two things: power and control and will do almost anything to be recognized. When we come from a place of ego it may cause us to do things that take us away from our game and will certainly take us out of the FlowZone. The ego is not bad nor is it wrong, its just important to be aware of when your ego is running the show and how it affects your performance. When you experience the FlowZone you completely lose the ego and what remains is you operating in the flow. That sounds pretty good doesnt it? If youve ever been in the magical zone or the FlowZone, you know this is true. Did you notice that you werent overly concerned about your competition, the score or comparisons between you and others? Didnt you feel like you could take on all challenges and overcome them? The ego is just the opposite of the zone. It focuses on and feeds off of control, comparison and power. When this happens we become distracted and make poor decisions.
Here some signs that let you know youre playing Ego Golf:
Playing the club you think you should play instead of the club that will get you the best results. This is the reason many amateur golfers play a short game on approach shots. Landing short or taking the wrong club simply adds numbers to your scorecard.
Ignoring your inner wisdom. Weve all been there; standing over the ball, getting set to hit our next great shot when all of a sudden a voice or feeling commands our attention. It whispers take the 7 iron not the 8 or Youre lined up left. What do many of us do? Our egos take over and we ignore the inner wisdom being presented to us. We think, Ill make the adjustment, Im already standing here, no problem. We take our swing and the next thing that comes out of our mouth is I knew I should have taken the 7! This is Ego golf.
Comparing yourself to others. Does it really matter what other golfers hit off the tee or what iron they use from 165 yards out? The ego loves to search and compare looking for reasons to rationalize the choices we make. Avoid the comparison because its a waste of your energy. You know what you should be using and you are the only player you need to satisfy.
Both the ego and the inner wisdom communicate with you through a feeling or a voice or a sense of some kind. How do you know which voice to listen to? For most of us the difference is very distinct. The voice of the Ego tends to be louder and more adamant. It needs your attention. The voice of your inner wisdom tends to be strong but silent like a whisper. It will never bang you on the head to get your attention; it simply lets you know what it knows and leaves the choice to you.
Exercise: The next time you are faced with a decision, stop and ask yourself, Is the club Ive selected my ego club or my scoring club? If its your ego club, switch to the club you know is the right one for that situation and hit it with confidence!
Copyright 2004 David Breslow. David is the author of Wired To Win and offers a highly acclaimed Perform In The FlowZone' program for sports and business. 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: David@theflowzone.net or visit the web: www.theflowzone.net For book orders call toll free: 1.888.280.7715