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Archive for August, 2012

“Golf is the closest game to the game we call life. You get bad breaks from good shots; you get good breaks from bad shots, but you have to play the ball where it lies.” – Bobby Jones

“One of the most fascinating things about golf is how it reflects the cycle of life. No matter what you shoot – the next day you have to go back to the first tee and begin all over again and make yourself into something.”– Peter Jacobsen

Golf has an interesting way of imitating life or, I guess, vice versa. For those who aren’t golfers, this may seem like an odd topic. How could a game about controlling a little white ball be so relevant? Let me explain with a little help from some of the game’s legends….

“I get as much fun as the next man from whaling the ball as hard as I can and catching it squarely on the button. But from sad experience, I learned not to try this in a round that meant anything.” – Bobby Jones

Swing Hard and Pray: When I first started playing, I thought golf was all about swinging hard and hoping I made contact. I reasoned that if I needed to hit the ball a long distance, I must need to create lots of force. Quickly, I realized that making solid contact created distance – and I rarely made solid contact from swinging hard. The more I analyzed my game, the more apparent it became that there was a negative correlation between how hard I swung and how far I hit the ball. When I slowed it down and focused on making solid contact, good things started to happen. This perfectly mirrors my experience in the game of life. Rarely is much accomplished from merely swinging hard. Sheer force does create action, but it’s often negated by a lack of strategy. Like in golf, I’ve learned to pull back a little, focus, and work on specific objectives.

“This is a game of misses. The guy who misses the best is going to win.”  – Ben Hogan

Embrace Failure: Failure happens. When it does, you’ve got a choice. It can be demotivating, causing fear and anxiety. Or you can look at it as normal and incredibly valuable. My golf game used to be squarely in the former camp. Two bad shots in a row, combined with a big number, used to make me want to walk off the course. I’d get up to the next shot and think about all the bad things that could happen. I’ve learned to embrace my failure, analyze, learn, and move on. My next shot may also go awry, but it won’t be for the same reason. When you hit bad shots, what do you do?

“It’s a funny thing; the more I practice, the luckier I get.” – Arnold Palmer

The Thin Line: In golf and in life, the difference between a great shot and a lost ball can be merely a few feet. Most people call that luck. Successful people know it’s not. Sure, bad bounces happen and, occasionally, the winds of fortune may swing in your favor, but the primary driver of consistent success is practice. You must try, fail, adjust, and try again. Your margin of error decreases, the bunkers look smaller, and the cup looks bigger.

“Don’t be too proud to take a lesson. I’m not.” – Jack Nicklaus

Mentorship Matters: All the practice in the world is not going to help if you’re rehearsing bad form. The best players in the world rely on others to help them recognize their faults and correct their form. Asking for advice isn’t a sign of weakness, but instead a sign of maturity. You’ll never know what you don’t know unless you ask.

“I never played a round when I didn’t learn something new about the game.”– Ben Hogan

Lifelong Learning: The longer I live, the more I’m convinced that lifelong learning is the key to happiness. Not a day goes by when I am not fascinated by something new. I can’t imagine not having a thirst for knowledge or a passion for exploration. But in order to learn, you must “play a round.” Find new ways to be challenged, as well as new people to challenge you.

“Of all the hazards, fear is the worst.” – Sam Snead

Fear: Of all the things that could happen, fear guarantees bad results. Fear is based on anticipating the worst for tomorrow and deducing the consequences. It can’t affect the future, but it certainly impacts the present. In my experience, fear drives poor decisions, causes paralysis, and debilitates. When you are getting ready to tee off, lots of bad things could happen, but by focusing on executing your shot, they likely won’t.

“Golf is said to be a humbling game, but it is surprising how many people are either not aware of their weaknesses or else reckless of consequences.” – Bobby Jones

Self-Awareness: If I could only choose one attribute to have, I would choose self-awareness. It is the art of self-reflection, leading us to analyze our own motivations and emotions, as well as an understanding of how others see us. Like golf, life is a humbling game that can only be played well if we understand our own weaknesses and tendencies.

Like golf, life is an intricate game. Play it well.

Resources: Forbes.com

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Overcoming Fear

Everyone experiences fear in their life. There are big fears we are very aware of and little ones we may not even realize we have. I’ve learned that it’s very important to understand what fear is and how it works against us because if we don’t, it can keep us from becoming what God created us to be, which means we won’t fulfill our purpose in life.

Fear’s Evil Scheme

“ God wants us to walk by faith, and Satan wants us to walk by fear. ”

Fear is a tool the devil uses against us to make us miserable and destroy our lives. It begins as a thought and then creates emotions that can rule us. It often becomes a strong, intense feeling that tries to move us to make a foolish action or tries to prevent us from doing something that would be good for us. Because it’s such a common way that Satan attacks people’s lives, I think of it as the master spirit he uses to manipulate people and keep them out of God’s will. Simply put, fear is the opposite of faith. God wants us to walk by faith, and Satan wants us to walk by fear. When we learn to live by faith and not let fear rule our life, we can live a fulfilling, satisfying, peaceful and joyful life in Christ.

Like I said before, fear begins with a thought. Proverbs 23:7 tells us that “as [a man] thinks in his heart, so is he” (NKJV). I like to say it like this: Where the mind goes, the man follows.

Finding Freedom

This is why the Bible talks about meditating on the Word of God and having our minds renewed (see Romans 12:2) so we can know what God’s will is. Meditating means you roll the Scripture over and over in your mind until it becomes part of you. Meditation takes information and turns it into revelation. When you get revelation about something, then you know that you know that you know it, and the truth of it sets you free from the lie that was holding you back from something God had for you.

Is Fear Holding You Back?

I wonder how many people actually have gifts and talents from God but they aren’t using them because they tried and failed? So many people are frustrated because they know they’re not doing what they are meant to do and are letting fear rule them.

I want you to get a revelation about this because you’re not going to ever be really happy if you don’t fulfill your potential and be who God created you to be. The key is to learn who you are in Christ and see yourself in Him.

So whatever Jesus is, we are too. He is strong, and in Him, we are strong. He is courageous; in Him, we are courageous. He is a conqueror, so we can be too. He has peace and joy, so we have peace and joy. He’s capable and bold. In Christ, we can do whatever we need to do with His boldness.

As you read the Bible and meditate on what God says about you, you will be able to recognize the fears in your life that are holding you back and overcome them by seeing yourself in Christ. Then you will find you have whatever you need to do what you are created to do.

Resources: Joyce Meyer

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Action For Happiness

GIVING  Do things for others

Caring about others is fundamental to our happiness. Helping other people is not only good for them and a great thing to do, it also makes us happier and healthier too. Giving also creates stronger connections between people and helps to build a happier society for everyone. And it’s not all about money – we can also give our time, ideas and energy. So if you want to feel good, do good!
Q: What do you do to help others?

RELATING  Connect with people

Relationships are the most important overall contributor to happiness. People with strong and broad social relationships are happier, healthier and live longer. Close
relationships with family and friends provide love, meaning, support and increase our feelings of self worth. Broader networks bring a sense of belonging. So taking action to
strengthen our relationships and create new connections is essential for happiness.
Q: Who matters most to you?

EXERCISING  Take care of your body

Our body and our mind are connected. Being active makes us happier as well as being good for our physical health. It instantly improves our mood and can even lift us out of a depression. We don’t all need to run marathons – there are simple things we can all do to be more active each day. We can also boost our well-being by unplugging from
technology, getting outside and making sure we get enough sleep!
Q: How do you stay active and healthy?

APPRECIATING  Notice the world around

Ever felt there must be more to life? Well good news, there is! And it’s right here in front of us. We just need to stop and take notice. Learning to be more mindful and aware can do wonders for our well-being in all areas of life – like our walk to work, the way we eat or our relationships. It helps us get in tune with our feelings and stops us dwelling on the past or worrying about the future – so we get more out of the day-to-day.
Q: When do you stop and take notice?

TRYING OUT  Keep learning new things

Learning affects our well-being in lots of positive ways. It exposes us to new ideas and helps us stay curious and engaged. It also gives us a sense of accomplishment and helps boost our self-confidence and resilience. There are many ways to learn new things – not just through formal qualifications. We can share a skill with friends, join a club, learn to sing, play a new sport and so much more.
Q: What new things have you tried recently?

DIRECTION  Have goals to look forward to

Feeling good about the future is important for our happiness. We all need goals to motivate us and these need to be challenging enough to excite us, but also achievable. If
we try to attempt the impossible this brings unnecessary stress. Choosing ambitious but realistic goals gives our lives direction and brings a sense of accomplishment and
satisfaction when we achieve them.
Q: What are your most important goals?

RESILIENCE  Find ways to bounce back

All of us have times of stress, loss, failure or trauma in our lives. But how we respond to these has a big impact on our well-being. We often cannot choose what happens to us,
but in principle we can choose our own attitude to what happens. In practice it’s not always easy, but one of the most exciting findings from recent research is that resilience, like many other life skills, can be learned.
Q: How do you bounce back in tough times?

EMOTION  Take a positive approach

Positive emotions – like joy, gratitude, contentment, inspiration, and pride – are not just great at the time. Recent research shows that regularly experiencing them creates an ‘upward spiral’, helping to build our resources. So although we need to be realistic about life’s ups and downs, it helps to focus on the good aspects of any situation – the glass half full rather than the glass half empty.
Q: What are you feeling good about?

ACCEPTANCE  Be comfortable with who you are

No-one’s perfect. But so often we compare our insides to other people’s outsides. Dwelling on our flaws – what we’re not rather than what we’ve got – makes it much
harder to be happy. Learning to accept ourselves, warts and all, and being kinder to ourselves when things go wrong, increases our enjoyment of life, our resilience and our
well-being. It also helps us accept others as they are.
Q: What is the real you like?

MEANING  Be part of something bigger

People who have meaning and purpose in their lives are happier, feel more in control and get more out of what they do. They also experience less stress, anxiety and
depression. But where do we find ‘meaning and purpose’? It might be our religious faith, being a parent or doing a job that makes a difference. The answers vary for each of us
but they all involve being connected to something bigger than ourselves.
Q: What gives your life meaning?

Resources: http://www.actionforhappiness.com

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