By: Anya Alvarez
Last week I was chatting with my father who is a golf professional, and he was telling me about how he used to get so upset with himself on the golf course. His mother had introduced him to the game while living in Mexico, and he had just started playing competitively. He walked off the course one day after playing and went home and started complaining to his mom about all the bad shots he hit. Nothing went right out there and he couldn't get over all the mistakes he made. Mama Cuy looked him and said, "Whenever I hear you talk about your rounds you only remember the bad shots. When I play, I remember the good shots because I hit so few of them."
When my father told me this story, it reminded me of how often I remember the good shots I hit on the golf course. It usually plays out like this: "I played well today, except I missed that three footer for birdie, and then I missed the green on the next hole, and then I missed another birdie putt."
This same thought process goes into other aspects of my life. When I think about my childhood or any part of my past, I will cling on to bad things that happened. Has my life been picture perfect? No. However, just because some parts of it have been bad doesn't mean there weren't good aspects that I took away from my past:
My parents loved me; I grew up with an amazing older sister; I had opportunities that other children my age didn't; I got to pay my college education through playing golf; I was always provided for. Yes, my parents divorced. And I certainly didn't have the best relationship with my college golf coach or team. But regardless of those unfortunate instances, many good things have taken place in the course of my life.
But, focusing on the bad isn’t just bad for your overall self esteem. Remembering only the negative can be bad for your physical health, as well. According to several studies, focusing on the negative can actually cause more stress and harm to your life rather than staying positive.
Dwelling on the negative that can cause harm. Yes, it’s good to acknowledge when things didn’t go as planned or that perhaps you had a crappy childhood. But, you’re here now and certainly good things have happened to you at some point in your life.
The same applies for me on the golf course. What I’ve started to do when evaluating rounds at a golf tournament, is at first I think of the good shots I hit. Then I make a list of the shots that may have cost me from making the cut or winning the tournament. Did I mostly hit my shots left or right? Did I hit the shots fat or thin? Then, once I’ve diagnosed which poor shots cost me the most, I can work on eliminating those not-so-great shots. I don’t ignore that I hit poor shots. I just use what I have learned and I focus on what I can do to be better. Isn’t that the point for us all is to work towards striving for better in our lives?
We all know life isn’t perfect. Sometimes, things don’t work out, whether it is a marriage that ends in divorce, a job interview that went awry, or a golf tournament that fell short of expectations. In the end, it’s all about perspective. Life is too short to remember the bad shots. Let’s all make a conscious choice to try and see things with a positive spin instead of fixating on the negative. Who knows? Maybe it will do us all a world of good and improve our health in the process.
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Check out other great pieces from twodaymag:
Life Lessons and Messages of Hope By Bobby Cherry
4 Questions That Can Improve Your Life By Tracey Steinberg
The Self Improvement Project By Anya Alvarez