Golf and life all about improving your own game

Peter FiorenzaGeraldton Guardian
Navigating your way through life can be a bit like a game of golf, with one step forward and two steps back.
Camera IconNavigating your way through life can be a bit like a game of golf, with one step forward and two steps back. Credit: Getty /Thinkstock

A dear friend once said to me: “Peter, a good bloke is someone who still does the right thing, even if no one is looking.”

The other day I was speaking to a class of students about something most of us struggle with in our lives.

It was something that also made me somewhat contemplative.

Learning to live with ourselves.

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What do I mean?

Well, many of us spend our days trying to be someone else or, simply, the people others would like us to be.

Actually, what we think others would like us to be.

By “others”, I refer not just to other people in our lives, but the media and society in general.

There is so much pressure in today’s world to meet expectations that this often results in a lot of stress and people not being genuinely happy.

Now, you might think I’m well off the mark, and that might be true, but I think you would have to agree true happiness stems from, firstly, being comfortable with who we are.

I don’t claim to be an expert, but I believe sharing experiences in life with our younger generation is my lot as a teacher.

I am indeed at the forefront in moulding our future good citizens and I think it’s important every now and again to share some of life’s gems.

One thing I consistently share with youngsters is that we never reach perfection as human beings.

Being a good person will always be a work in progress.

Two steps forward are nearly always followed by one step back.

I recently used the analogy of a round of golf.

For many, golf is a game in which you really play against yourself.

When you first start, you might play a round that sees you unable to get much distance with the driver, struggle in the bunkers and finding it hard to putt with any success.

In the next round, you might focus on improving on drive better, and in the next, you start focusing on bunker shots.

And once you are having a win there, you move on to putting.

Some of us might become great drivers, others expert bunker demons, while others will putt with consistent success, but most of us will never master everything.

There will always be room for improvement.

And despite the fact golf can be played in a competition situation, most participants get most stimulation, I believe, from improving their own game.

And when I chat to the kids, I am reminded about how I can continually look at improving my life in much the same way.

There is a line in the Optimist Creed that sums this up well: “(Promise yourself) to give so much time to improving yourself that you have no time to criticise others.”

I am still working at it.

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