To Be or Not To Be: The Performance Zone in Golf

Some of the most fascinating experiences I’ve had as a parent, was watching my girls play. The often entered entirely different worlds right before my eyes. When observing a child pretending to be in the land of Narnia, she isn’t pretending to be in Narina, she IS in Narnia! Sticks become swords and low hanging tree limbs become wardrobe portals to jump through into a magical world full of interesting characters, both good and evil. In that moment in time nothing else exists to the child but the Narnia world in the backyard. When children are fully engaged in a state of play, when they are in deep ‘pre-tend’, it’s a lot like watching an athlete perform in the zone, it’s a magical experience for the athlete and the spectator.

The Power of Imagination

What I was witnessing in the backyard was how the natural order of play takes place. It’s called the BE-DO-HAVE Paradigm. This is not a new concept, it’s been around a very long time. First a child decides to pretend to BE Lucy Pevensie (the youngest of the children who finds the wardrobe entrance). Then she begins to DO things that Lucy did and then the things she needs to HAVE appear, swords (sticks) and
portals (trees) etc.. and then she is in the present moment having Narnia-like experiences. When it comes to Golfers wanting to be a champion, they operate the paradigm backwards. They think they have to HAVE the best equipment, lessons, proper apparel, then if they DO golfer things like drills, practice, watch Golf Channel, and say self-deprecating comments, then they will BE a Champion.

When children are playing, we call it “pretend” or ‘make-believe’. The word pretend has Latin roots and from Old French, pretendre – when literally translated means “To Lay Claim”. So when a child is ‘pretending’ to be in the Land of Narnia, she is ‘laying claim’ to BEING in her present reality. What if a golfer pretended to be a champion? What if a golfer were “to lay claim” to Being a champion? What if golfers embraced the BE-DO-HAVE paradigm like a child?

How to use Imagination to Improve Your Golf Game

First the golfer would decide to BE a Champion. Next, he would begin to DO things that Champions DO, then the golfer would begin to HAVE Champion-like experiences. One advantage children have over adults is that they Know the BE-DO-HAVE paradigm is a natural flow of energies. It’s a lot like getting in a kayak and floating down a river. Children naturally want to ‘go with the flow’. When you are flowing with the river, you still have to paddle to keep the nose straight down
river and you still have to negotiate eddies, boulders, rapids and flats or whatever the river presents, this is the “Doing” part of the paradigm. As we become adult golfers and want to play a game, the conditioning we received and others’ influences has us trying to operate the paradigm backwards: HAVE-DO-BE, this is a lot like paddling the kayak up river. It can be done but with a lot of effort. Should you get tired and want to rest because of all the extra expended energy going against the river, you will go backwards and then must paddle twice as hard to make up for lost ground.

When you are working the paradigm backwards, you are working against the natural energy flow of the river. There is a connection between not “being” a champion now and not” having” the energy to Become a Champion. Deciding ahead of time to Be a Champion produces “champion-like” experiences. Being a champion is a state of mind. All thoughts have an equal chemical equivalent. Thoughts are manifested in physical form, some at very subtle levels, some at surface levels. Need proof? Take a moment and think about the very first time you held your newborn child and looked into her eyes. Got it? Did you have an emotional feeling surrounding the memory of that experience? Those emotional thoughts gave you a feeling. That feeling is a physical manifestation of a thought about a significant emotional event of
holding your newborn child. So how does all this translate to golf? If you create a state of mind of a champion, you will produce into the physical world experiences of being a champion.

When a child has a Narnia state of mind, she fully experiences the exhilaration of the adventure of waiting through the portal in the wardrobe box. If you act as though you already are you will become. Whatever you are Being you are Creating. By Being a Champion, you will manifest Champion-like experiences.

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