Thoughtful Thursday: Reflection before projection

Now that the new year is underway, I’m sure you’re all looking forward to what lies ahead over the next 12 months.

I’m sure many of you will have written down your goals and targets and thinking about what you want to achieve in 2024. While I am a great believer in looking to the future rather than dwelling on he past, I also place a great deal of value in reflecting on your own personal experiences.

If you wrote down your goals, dreams or ambitions for 2024, now would be a good time to take some time to look back and see how they panned out. Did your hopes and intentions in what has been a testing year for many, match up to the reality of what actually happened? 

Whether they did or didn’t, do yourself a favour and write down, not just think about why but actually write down what helped or hindered your quest. Do not confuse thoughts with actions, they are poles apart. We have between 60,000 and 80,000 thoughts every day and could not possibly find the time to act on all of them!

It is all too easy to sit and wonder why certain aspects of your golf game or indeed your life, did or did not go according to your master plan, then move swiftly on, projecting into the future, telling yourself 2024 will be your year. 

That may work for some but I would strongly recommend you invest an hour or two of your time to ask yourself some questions as to why your desires for 2023 came to fruition or not. Trust me, there will be sufficient clues in your findings that will in turn, allow you to learn from and either change, adapt or replicate certain actions to make the coming year a more successful one.

How do you measure success? That is for you to decide. Success means different things to different people. For some it may be earning more money, buying a new car or house. For others it might take the form of a reduction in your golf handicap or scoring average. It could well be that success to you means having more time with the people who are important to you. Only you can decide what success really looks like.

In the latest book Karl Morris and I wrote, ‘The Lost Art Of The Short Game’, we talk about the late great Bruce Lee, internationally recognised as the most influential martial artist of all time. 

What you may not be aware of, in addition to his martial arts prowess, Lee was also a great philosopher. 

“In his philosophical writings, he actually summarised most of his beliefs around just four points. We often hear the word ‘profound’, which is greatly overused these days but we believe his four keys are truly profound.

Yes, of course Bruce Lee’s principles can be applied to martial arts but, just as easily can be applied to your golf of life itself. The four key points to optimal performance as Bruce Lee saw it were :

  • Research YOUR own personal experience
  • Absorb what is USEFUL
  • Reject what is USELESS
  • Add specifically what is your OWN

As you initially pass your eyes over the four points, it would be very easy to miss out on the deep message they convey, in particular the first point: Research your own experience.

We would go so far as to say that most golfers NEVER research their own experience. They miss out on the nuggets of gold that only your own personal experiences can give you.”

In short, the message I would like to leave you with before you embark on another trip around the sun, is quite simply, REFLECT before you PROJECT. Who knows, that exercise might just be the key to unlocking your true potential in golf, business or life in general.
Until next year.

All the very best,
Gary Nicol and Karl Morris.