I’m an amateur golfer, and I know only too well the debilitating impact negative thoughts can have on an eventual outcome! You don’t have to be a golfer to understand the essence of this blog though, but those who are, will undoubtedly resonate with my thinking.
Having made a good drive down the fairway you find yourself in a great position ready for your second shot into the green. Never mind the lake in front of you. What lake? That lake! The lake that always seems like a magnet to your ball… and to make things more difficult, you’re hitting on a downward slope.
Guess what typically happens next? Yes, you got it, the ball goes in the water.
So, instead of repeating the same thought processes and getting the same results, one has to think differently.
It’s important to outsmart our biases, whether this be in sport or life in general.
- The most important thing is to recognise the bias
- Secondly, control our emotions. We are likely to fold to our prejudices when under pressure
- Then, slow down the thought processes
- Think rationally – understand why are we thinking like this
- Engage in critical thinking… evaluate and be objective
- Lastly, change your approach accordingly.
Everyone can be forgiven for having significant cognitive biases, especially over the last few years -an era of worry and heightened concerns over what life holds. But the key to one’s own fulfilment is to manage how you personally react to news flow, information and opinions.
Behavioural psychology fascinates me hugely and I see examples of good and bad thought processes on frequent occasions… not just on the golf course!
It’s really difficult to disassociate oneself from our anchoring biases which is why it’s essential to recognise such biases in the first place. Having a coach/mentor/planner should help mitigate having unsubstantiated negative thoughts and allow you to flourish, no matter what the situation. It’s important to disengage from thoughts which bring anxiety, but we have to be intentional about this.
Perhaps amateur golf instructors should spend a little more time talking about behavioural psychology and decision making, as opposed to just the swing dynamics – because I hate going in the water!
Gary Neild B.Sc.Hons. DipIP PFA
Chief Executive Officer (CEO)
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