If you’ve yet to read “An Astronaut’s Guide To Life On Earth” by Chris Hadfield, do yourself a favour and put it on your reading list.
Hadfield lays out all an astronaut must endure, far more than anyone could imagine, in order to achieve what few in the world ever get a chance to do – travel to space and return to earth successfully.
The lessons he learned along the way are invaluable ones for anybody with a goal, and strangely enough, could apply to golf as well.
Hadfield is enough of a golfer that he once appeared on the cover of the old Ontario Golf. I’m sure he didn’t have golf lessons in mind when he was penning his best seller. For some reason (surprise) I did.
The modern theme of many golf psychology books is to get people to focus on the best possible outcome. It’s utopian, and not very practical in a game of misses.
While it is great to work towards perfection, many of us have difficulties when faced with the reality of golf. How do we react when things go wrong? They often do.
The trouble is the anxiety and panic of dealing with golf shots gone wrong, especially in the heat of competition, is that it can lead to even further disasters. The outcome may not be as penal as what an astronaut faces in the vastness and uncertainty of space, but the preparation for avoiding catastrophe (no matter the scale) is somewhat the same.
Consider these notes I took from Hadfield’s book and see how you can apply it to your golf preparation this season.
1. Prepare for the worst. It will make you less anxious and prepared to deal with it.
2. Unknown causes anxiety.
3. The only thing you can control is your attitude.
4. Sweat the small stuff.
5. Visualize ideal but prepare for other outcomes.
6. “Early success is a terrible teacher. You are essentially being rewarded for a lack of preparation, so when you find yourself in a situation where you must prepare, you can’t do it. You don’t know how.”
7. “Recognize your weaknesses and take responsibility for them. Don’t just dismiss them as an anomaly.”
8. Be “overqualified.” Learn to deal with every possible situation and there will be no surprises with how to deal with it.
9. Take out as many “unknowns” as possible.
10. “If it does not matter for the next 30 seconds, it does not exist.” Have total focus on the here and now.