I am, as some of you may know, a bit of a movie buff. Years ago I watched a film that changed my life. Now, it mostly changed my life because it inspired me to read the book that is, as usual, 100% better. However it was the movie that inspired me initially. That film is The Legend of Bagger Vance. There are some of you, I would guess approximately 3 of you, who have seen the film (that’s about how it did at the box office) and are now saying to yourselves, “he can’t be talking about that horribly awkward romance with Matt Damon and Charlize Theron? Not that one with Will Smith as a golf caddy?” One…in…the…same.
That movie, and that book even more, has nothing really to do with golf. Not at its core. At its core it is about the study of perfection. At its core, it’s about discovering our pure abilities and who we are as a person. It just happens to do it through the study of golf. Now I’m not going to bore you with a golf story here. But I need to give you just enough background so that you’re with me. Unless you’ve watched/read it, and then you’re probably good. According to the story, there exists within each of us, a genuine golf swing. It is a swing that belongs to us and us alone. It is as individual as we are and it is in every way, perfect. Golf, according to Bagger Vance, isn’t about learning how to hit a ball, it’s about un-learning all the junk that you’ve put in your head, emptying yourself of everything and discovering your true, authentic swing.
This is not a new idea. Michalengelo, upon crafting the great work of art that was the statue of David, was quoted as saying, “I didn’t make the statue of David. The statue of David was always there. I just stripped away all the excess clay until all that remain was David.” Or something like that.
Now what does that have to do with you. Well, in a nutshell, it means this. Just be you. Stop trying to master being someone else. You will be a poor imitation. Sure, learn from people. Don’t learn from people in order to emulate. Learn from people in order to strip away all the doubt that surrounds you. Master being you by just letting you be you. Don’t PLAN what you’re going to think and say. Be yourself. Some people are NOT going to like you. Some people are going to love you. Make them love or hate the real you, not the image you think you should be.
This is a business lesson, wrapped in a life lesson, wrapped in a golf lesson. Be honest. Bottom line. Full Stop.