Take a seat in the observatory

By getting clients to ‘observe’ themselves a real change can be brought about in both their swing and how they approach the game, says Karl Morris.

One of the great assets we have as humans is our ability to be aware of our thinking. Some would say it is an ability, whereas others might perhaps label it as a curse. We do though have a unique mechanism to step outside of ourselves and ‘observe’ what we are thinking about.

We can step outside of our train of thought and simply observe it. In some ancient disciplines of meditation this ‘observer’ mode is a central theme in terms of leading a productive life as we are able to step back and observe some of the nonsense our mind throws at us on a relentlessly continual basis. As we step back and observe we then have the ability to either let that particular train of thought go or we can fuse with it and become involved with the story our mind is creating at any given moment.

Many of the issues we have are a result of ‘fusing’ with a train of thought. For example, we may have the thought that the shop is particularly quiet this morning and as, we fuse and merge with that thought in less than a few moments, we can be picturing ourselves as penniless and destitute as the train of thought thunders down the tracks of negativity.

In his book The seven brief lessons on physics,author Carlo Rovelli states, ‘the theory goes to say that NOTHING can exist in the same form when it is OBSERVED, compared to when it isn’t. Just by being present, by watching and observing, the subject’s behaviour will be CHANGED’. There is a subtle but important difference between observation and intervention. Often we try to jump in and change things before we observe the reality of what is actually happening.

I have had a reasonable amount of success with players over the years who have had trouble in dealing with poor shots. Dealing with poor shots and their habitual reactions to shots that are anything less than arrow straight bullets at the target.

Normally they are told they must change their attitude, they are told they need to react better to hitting bad shots. For the most part when people are told they ‘must’ do something then the behavior stays exactly as it is as someone else is imposing onto them a set of behaviours. With a player with these kinds of issues I will often say to them that I want them to play the next half dozen rounds of golf with a single goal. To merely ‘observe’ themselves on the course after the ball has left the club and how they react to the chaos the game throws at them. Specifically they are told not to try to change anything but to merely observe. You can imagine what happens to a lot of players when they truly see what kind of person they are on the course. The paradox is that by merely observing as opposed to trying to change then change can take place. They then own that change; it hasn’t been imposed upon them by somebody else.

It can be exactly the same with a golf swing: instead of trying to change a swing with a direct intervention, getting someone to observe what is actually going on can reap a big reward. For instance, if you ask someone to ‘observe’ their rhythm without trying to change it, the golfer often settles into what is an appropriate rhythm for them as a unique individual. In business it is worth observing our habitual patterns and habits. Maybe for a couple of days you could Karl Morrisobserve’ how you greet people coming into your business, especially people you have known for a long time. Just step back and notice your default settings. Observe the beginning and the end of your lessons, or observe the way you are at the start of your teaching day and how you are at the end. It isn’t for anyone else to tell you how you should run your life or your business, but when you step back and look at what is actually going on you then put yourself in a position of choice. Do I carry on with this way of being or do I choose to do something different?