We’ve all experienced it – walking to the first tee with heightened confidence stemming from exceptional golf in the preceding weeks, a stellar warm-up, or experimenting with a new swing tip in the hope of unlocking the secret to our best round ever. These are the precursors that establish elevated expectations before we even step onto the first tee.

As we anticipate one of our finest rounds, the pressure to meet these expectations intensifies, propelling our thoughts far into the future. The present moment blurs into the background of our vision, and we find ourselves entangled in the anticipation of what lies ahead.

However, this future-focused mindset is abruptly disrupted by a mistake on the initial holes, shattering our hopes of meeting those lofty expectations. Now, left with the only option to simply enjoy the remainder of the round. But, why didn’t we start with that focus in the first place?

Because we chose to prioritize expectations over appreciation.

Recently, I listened to a podcast featuring Tony Robbins, one of the foremost motivational speakers. He shared his daily “priming” routine, a sequence of events from the moment he wakes up designed to create a positive cascade effect, enabling him to present his best self throughout the day. A pivotal part of this routine involves deep breaths coupled with reflecting on gratitude. The purpose is to center his life on appreciation rather than expectation. When we cling to expectations, we project into the future, hoping for specific outcomes that are often beyond our control. Conversely, by choosing appreciation, we gain control over perceiving our present life as a blessing.

This concept resonated with me on a dual level, applicable not only to golf but also to life. Much like the example outlined above, high expectations in golf prevent us from being present and savoring the beauty of the golf course, appreciating the privilege of playing the sport, and enjoying the camaraderie of our fellow golfers.

This parallel holds true in life. Our relentless pursuit of future goals or the next phase often relegates the present to the periphery, leaving us living in a fanciful vision of the future.

Life and golf are a game of choosing which lens we want to view them through. If we take a few minutes before each day or round to shift our focus to the daily gifts we are given, we may find more joy and possibly a bit more success along the way.

The Good Stuff

Amanda Renner has become a fixture in the world of professional golf. Tom Coyne, on The Golfer’s Journal Podcast, recently interviewed Amanda to discuss life on and off camera. They cover a range of topics from football to yoga. However, the discussion shifted from life on TV to life in reality, exploring how she discovers happiness in the midst of it all. For Amanda, yoga plays a pivotal role in cultivating a refreshed perspective on life. This quote from the interview really stuck out to me on choosing happiness.

“You can choose happiness. It’s a choice to be happy everyday. I started to really understand that terrible things are going to happen to you whether it’s your fault or someone else’s fault, you can’t control these terrible things in life. But, you can control how you react and you can control how long it owns you. That idea of choosing happiness became a mantra for me – finding one thing I’m happy for a day. Finding one thing I’m grateful for a day. Then if I can do that, during times when it felt like everything was awful, then I’m choosing to find the good in life right now.”

Check out the full interview below.