MY YEAR-ROUND PRACTICE includes visiting a couple of our libraries each month that are scattered in the towns and villages around Crystal Lake. During the last eight years I have come to appreciate them so very much. They are gems with their own distinct personalities and all offer such desirable settings.
On Mondays, I often wander into Frankfort to have coffee and do some morning writing. Once this routine is completed, I head across the street to the Benzie Shores Library where I sit and read the weekend newspapers. It is a leisurely activity for me; it also affords me time to sneak peeks across Betsie Lake observing its changing face as I watch the flow of water into the harbor. The entire setting makes me happy and reminds me how thankful I am to be living near Lake Michigan on the shores of Benzie County.
I play a little game during my library visits where I select articles from the Wall Street Journal, or New York Times, usually picking a topic far from my sphere of normal interests. I do this to push my own envelope trying to unearth something unique and noteworthy. I have decided it is a nice habit, plus it is kind of fun, and often rewards me with such pleasant surprises.
This week’s article in the WSJ, by Alison Gopnik, piqued my interest. It was about university studies that measured creativity and persistence in children, discovering that when children pretend they are some action hero they scored significantly higher on a battery of tests. Pretending seemed to lead to their improved performance? I accept these findings, not at all questioning the experimental design.
The article goes on to state these performance improvements can also apply to adults. The author suggests that pretending simply gives us a chance to become the person we want to be. The researcher concludes that you can improve your performance by pretending you are a special character.
This came as an interesting hypothesis to me and I applied the findings to my own performance on the golf course. I had been contemplating my inconsistent scores during the last two years. After a series of lessons, I was hitting the ball better, but mechanics seemed to control my game and lower scores were missing.
Great chipping and putting had been the hallmark of my game, especially during the previous July. It occurred to me that I had lost faith this year in my ability to recover. I had stopped visualizing the ball rolling in to the cup. It occurred to me that I must again imagine that I am a great player, perhaps the likes of Palmer, or Nicklaus. The researcher claimed you simply needed to “fake it till you make it.”
So, with this article fresh in my thoughts, do not be surprised if this coming season you find me on the first tee dressed in a hooded cape waving a scepter in the air pretending I am an action hero applying the power of positive thought in my own world.