Give Yourself A Break
When I practiced veterinary medicine in West Texas we lived at a place called Lake Tanglewood. It was small community Southeast of Amarillo. It had a small lake, a restaurant, and an executive par 3 golf course. On days off, I would play golf with some of the neighbors. Some of these folks were good and the rest of us paid our quarters to them on the holes we lost. One person, Roddy Dement, was a retired highway contractor in his seventies that lived by himself down by the lake. He was a very big man with silver hair and a great West Texas drawl. He and his brother were scratch golfers in the day and were known across West Texas for their golf and their great business in highway construction. I watched Roddy hit a hole in one. I was so excited but he smiled and said that was his eighth in his life. The pressure never got to Roddy.
One afternoon, just Roddy and I were playing golf. Roddy hit his tee shot on a short par 3 onto the green with his smooth left-hand swing. I followed him by hitting my ball out of bounds to the left. I threw my club down and cussed. After my little outburst, Roddy was cleaning his wedge with a golf tee sitting in his golf cart smoking a cigarette and said, “I going to tell you something my brother told me years ago. You aren’t good enough to get mad.” Since that day, if I get to play golf and I do hit a bad shot, I think back to that moment and those words. And I smile. We can relate that moment and those words to so many occasions in our lives. Was I that good of a kid growing up? Then why do I get so mad at my kids? Was I that good of a student? Was I perfect at doctoring sick cattle? Did I always make every deadline? Did every business deal work out perfectly? Nope. I never have been good enough to get mad.
Now, that all said, I am not perfect. I do get mad, cuss and say the wrong things. I’m not even good at that. We must learn that each other have ideas, dreams, hopes along with insecurities, jealousy and fears. Roddy’s moment helped release my focus on perfection or an outcome while also releasing the pressure off my mind to simply enjoy what I was getting to do. It doesn’t mean you don’t work hard or give it your all. It just means to give yourself a break and all will be fine in the world.