Unknowingly choosing not to get better
When I was a teenager, I used to golf. I didn’t really like it, but was forced out on to the course by my father and grandfather. I remember having to wake up early and walk around a wet course and listen to my grandfather swear in a thick Polish accent.
On certain days, we’d be joined by my grandfather’s friend, Jan. He was a nice guy, but the worst golfer. He’d slice every drive, hit into the traps and miss every putt until he just ended up rolling it in with his foot. Inevitably, Jan would give himself an eight for the hole, even though he could have easily put a one in front of that eight.
What amazed me one day, was that he said he had been golfing for almost 20 years. I couldn’t believe it. I was only 14 at the time and would regularly beat him, but what stood out in my head was thinking, “If this is your game now, what on earth did it look like 20 years ago?”
It wasn’t until later that I realized that I’m sure his game looked the same for those 20 years. He never took advice, never wanted it either. He used the same self deprecating jokes to deflect the obvious pain about his game, and clung to his method of golfing no matter how bad the results were.
He chose being stuck over improvement. By not choosing to improve, he choose to stay where he was.
Stuck is safe and you know what you get at the end of the day. My grandfather’s friend may have shot 110 each day, but he knew what he was getting. If he changed something, he put that certainty in jeopardy and uncertainty is much worse than a score of 110 in golf.
It is our attachment to a set, comfortable product that is put into jeopardy when we change things. We don’t want to mess with a broken process, and yet we seek comfort in a poor product.
Something has to give.
If your end result is not working, then it is time to tinker with the process.
It is going to change what you do, but improve what you make. Think of it as changing the discomfort you feel when you look at your dissatisfied product, for a little bit of discomfort along the way. Changing your process is not an acceptance of your shortcomings, but rather a building upon what you’ve already done. It’s taking what we do steps further rather than tearing down our whole experience.
Failure does not occur by not reaching our target goal, success comes in the trying, in the process.
It can be easier to convince ourselves that we will never be “that” good so why bother looking foolish in trying, but what if we could accept that there is no end point to reach, but rather it is in the process where we receive the most benefit.
And in the end, if the process is sound, so is the final product.
Craig Morton is a life coach at Ignite Change and practices Ashtanga Yoga.
Editor: Maja Despot
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