I’ve just returned from a couple of days at The Open golf championship (please note: not the British Open). What an amazing finish to what was looking like a fairly routine tournament.
For those who do not follow golf, Australian Adam Scott was leading by 3 shots with only a couple of holes to play. There did not seem enough holes for him to throw it away but it’s amazing what you can do if you try. Poor Adam simply imploded on the last four holes, dropping shot after shot. Meanwhile South African Ernie Els just steadily chipped away and had to sit in the clubhouse – well pace up and down I suspect – as Adam Scott should have just finished off a tournament that everyone thought he’d won.
Scott was left with a putt to make par on the 18th which would have forced a play off. He missed, gifting the Claret Jug to Els.
So why am I bothering you with this? Well I think Scott’s unfortunate and sad collapse has lessons for us all. He did not lose because he is not as good a golfer as Els. He lost because his mind let him down. He allowed his conscious mind to take over when he’d have been much better off leaving his subconscious mind in the driving seat. Afterall, it had got him to what looked like an unassailable lead in arguably the most prestigious golf tournament in the world.
The same ‘mental collapse’ can happen to any of us – fortunately ours is not in front of millions of spectators. It’s important to decide what you want and focus on it but trying too hard and forcing your concentration and thoughts too much, can be more damaging than doing what you think you need to do and then sitting back and letting things happen. I’m sure the more medically qualified among you would also argue that’s a better approach for your stress levels and heart rate too.
The Open was held at the Royal Lytham and St Annes course this year, which is a stones throw from Blackpool.
I’m not going to turn this into a piece on the respective merits of the north and south of England, but some things were very noticeable.
It’s a while since I’ve been offered help by anyone not paid to do so, and spoken to by so many complete strangers.
A man approached us in the street to offer his help as we were debating the quickest way to walk to the car park.
Teenage girls on checkouts passed the time of day with us rather than muttering a surly “have a nice day” or “enjoy” because it’s part of the script, even though it always emerges as if they hope every mouthful chokes you.
And for those who enjoy a pint of falling-over juice, the most refreshing touch of all. I’ve lost count of the number of times I have had to ask to have a pint topped up because it’s settled after being poured. When that happened at the weekend the offending sub-capacity vessel was topped up without a word being spoken. All part of the service.
It’s incredible how a few common courtesies and displays of friendliness were so noticeable. They used to be things taken for granted but they’ve become noticeable as they’ve sadly become rarer.
They cost nothing but can have an amazing impact. Try it and see what response you get. I’d love to hear examples of how these little touches make your day a little – or even a lot – more pleasant.
The Barefoot Bohemian