The Long Way Home 7.21.23

If there is anything more annoying than a vocal and unceasing proponent of the power of positive thinking it would have to be the scowling, snarling, and often sniveling negative nellies always finding fault with something that may have happened to them or that they’re convinced will happen to them.

The negative nellies seem like they want none of us to be having a good time. On the other hand, almost everyone else wants us to have fun, or tell them that we had fun. These are the people who get to me sometimes. 

“Did you have fun at (wherever you were)?” 

“Are you having fun?” 

“Are you doing something fun (this weekend or wherever you’re going)?”

Fun, along with journey and adventure, are overused words, don’t you think?

Wanna be less annoying? Ask me what I did if you will, but don’t ask if I did anything fun. I’m an old man. Fun for me is making it to bedtime without additional disease or injury. And laughing at the absurdity in the world.

A recent news story said that a man found dead in a freezer at his Minnesota home was believed to have entered it to evade law enforcement, which apparently was pursuing him with less than rigorous vigor. I had fun reading that little tale of unexpected consequences and sharing it with others who are like-minded--jaded and a bit dark. 

I don’t mean to make it sound like I disagree with the power of positive thinking. Life tosses us some pretty interesting curve balls, and the right type of positive thinking can help us get a bat on those balls once in a while. Not a happy positive attitude that ignores the realities, the rose-colored glasses type, but just the right mental attitude that acknowledges reality and makes the best effort to swing for the fences.

In the golfing years of my life I read an awful lot about the game, the physical geometries of the swing, and the mental attitude to win, and if not win, to have FUN.

One lesson that has stood me in good stead, not only on the golf course but in all aspects of life, is that the mind (or brain if you prefer) has a devil of a time discerning between positive and negative actions.

On the golf course, addressing the ball, most people tend to think about the hazards facing them. They focus on where they don’t want the ball to go.

An old timer I played golf with had sage advice. “My life got better when I started to think that there is no water on the course, just tall grass.” After a pregnant pause, he added, “I haven’t lost a ball in water since. But I lose a lot of them in the tall grass.”

The mind says, “Don’t hit it in the water.” “Don’t hit it into the trees.” “Don’t hit it into the tall grass”

The mind focuses on the last noun it hears, only. This may or may not be a scientifically proven fact, but it made sense somehow. 

To have more “fun” golfing, and in life, focus positively on where you want to go instead of where you don’t want to go. Find a patch on the fairway (where you want the ball to land) and make your mind say, “Hit it on that patch of the fairway” and ignore the bad stuff.

A good lesson for a satisfying life, yes?