Commitment

Until one is committed, there is hesitancy, the chance to draw back, always ineffectiveness.

Concerning all acts of initiative, there is one elementary truth, the ignorance of which kills countless ideas and endless plans: That the moment one definitely commits oneself, then providence moves too.

All sorts of things occur to help one that would never otherwise have occurred. A whole stream of events issues from the decision, raising in one’s favor all manner of unforeseen incidents and meetings and material assistance which no man could have dreamed would come his way.

Whatever you can do or dream you can, begin it!

Boldness has genius, power and magic in it.

                                                                                                Goethe

This quote from Goethe is the way I begin the chapter, “Commitment,” in my forthcoming book, Going For It! A Spiritual Adventure on the Champions Tour: How Things Work…and Work Out…Miracles and All.

The thing about commitment is that it’s a sort of magic elixir. In the context of Goethe’s quote, it’s the way that big things get accomplished. It’s one thing to want to lose weight, it’s quite another to be committed to a healthy lifestyle. It’s one thing to profess your love to your significant other, it’s quite another for that love to be reflected in your devotion and commitment to that person. It’s one thing to say on the brink of your fiftieth birthday that you want to play professional golf on the Champions Tour, it’s quite another to throw yourself headlong into the process with no caveats, no outs.

But commitment isn’t just for the big things in life, it’s for the little things too. I am committed to getting my tax return completed by April 15th so that I don’t have to file for an extension. I am committed to attending to the maintenance schedule on my car to ensure its longevity. I am committed to organizing the paperwork in my life so that my access to it is reliable, easy and facile.

And in golf, I am committed to staying completely present to every golf shot I hit and accepting whatever the results might be.

That might seem to be a little cavalier given that the object of the game is exclusively results oriented, “What d’ja shoot?”

But it turns out that the best way to get what you most care about is to not care about it. That’s because the single most important factor in accomplishing something is to go about it with freedom. That’s especially true in a physical task like a golf swing, but it’s also true everywhere else in life. Choking during a golf swing is no different than choking on that first date. Being committed to staying present to that golf shot or to that person on the date eliminates the fear about the outcome. When there is no past or future, there is no fear. When the shot is done, the date is over, there is a kind of calm joy in the immersion in the experience…and the immersion brings forth who you really are.

I wrote yesterday about Brandt Snedeker’s unique putting pre-shot routine. Here’s another take on that from the perspective of commitment. In “Commitment Leads to Better Play, Enjoyment,” Travis Fulton, writing at pgatour.com, talks about Snedeker and Masters’ champion Charl Swartzel and suggests a mechanical way to begin to become aware of your level of commitment in each shot.

It’s no substitute for automatically playing from that place, but it’s a pretty good place to start.

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