Saturday, June 15, 2013
The good hurt
[i just saw Ryan's blog on old-school hurt. Must be in the air!]
I'm writing this blog from Florida, where I am taking—took—my most recent series of tests toward becoming a PGA Professional.
Two weeks ago I was walking to the kwoon after having opened my study notes, guides, and "subject modules," with a scowl on my face. I was contemplating calling the PGA headquarters and telling them to refund my money: I was done with this nonsense.
I was looking for an excuse to give up, to quit. Interestingly, one of the interpersonal skills that my studies identifies is the ability to reframe a difficult situation. I knew that when I got to the kwoon, I was going to get my butt kicked. I also knew that the times I had been to class in the last two months were paying off, and even though I felt tired and my muscles were sore, I was stronger and had more energy than I have had in a long time.
How many times do I underestimate my potential?
How often do I give up simply because I have not let myself go further than I have tried to go before?
I will admit that I coasted through my academic career. I didn't push myself, I did the minimum to get the degree. I had no direction. Sifu writes in his Reflections that there is an exceptional education to be had for free for anyone who wants it. Atthis point in my life, I have the opportunity to get a useful credential and to make a difference in people's lives through teaching a sport.
Why would I give up? Because I am afraid to fail? Maybe because I am afraid to grow. When I was a child, if someone told me, "Hey, your knees, wrists, and other joints are going to hurt at random times. Are you okay with that? You can say, 'No, thanks,'" I might have opted out. I would have avoided the pain, but I would also still be smaller, because I would have traded short-term ease for my growing pains.
So, halfway to the kwoon, I realized that I was letting myself remain small. I also remembered that negative attitude reduces the ability to internalize and process information. I decided instead to believe in myself. I chose to say, "I got through the Level 1 tests, why can't I ready myself for the next level? I didn't coast through college because I was unintelligent, I did because I was lazy and unfocused" [which, now that I put those words together, have closer meanings than I realized].
Plus, I never let myself have any confidence. Confidence means standing up for yourself: not just believing in something but believing in me. That always felt arrogant and uncomfortable—even lonely. But it is the same thing as when I teach a golfer how to hold a club. It is uncomfortable only because it is unfamiliar, but eventually it becomes familiar and comfortable. It gets easier and easier until it becomes a thing of mastery.
For now, it hurts a little. But it's a good hurt. I'm through the last hurdle, and on to the next. Just don't stop. Just don't quit. Just keep going.