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What Are We Measuring?

From the way we dress to the content we put on Social Media, our Ego often runs the show. To pursue Mastery of any sort, a high level of discomfort is required, usually in spite of the Ego’s desire for pedestal-worthy achievement. I’ve had a slow and steady awakening over the past few years, allowing me to begin to see just how much my Ego is in control (Cliff Notes: Work in progress 😉).

Let’s start with a Golfing example, (hang in there non-Golfers):

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Across the globe, the Golf community utilities Handicap systems to rate the quality of a persons Play. Basically you are given a number of Strokes (generally between 0 and 36) to minus off your Score (aka Gross Score), that creates your ‘Nett’ Score e.g. a Person has a Handicap of 10, they take 80 shots, which is their ‘Gross’ Score - their Handicap = their Nett Score, 70.

In essence, the systems can be used as a gauge of progress. The lower a persons Handicap is the better they are, right?

Similarly, take a look at Weight Lifting (another passion of mine). It should come as no surprise, that as you add Weight to your lift the stronger you are, right? The guy who Deadlifts 300lbs/136kg is obviously stronger than the guy who lifts 250lbs/113kg?

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However, what if the person lifting 300lbs/136kg has terrible form, is slopping through the reps, and is about 2 pounds from destroying their spine? What if the person lifting 250lbs/113kg has perfect form, a flat back, and is “owning” that 250lbs/113kg? Now the situation is a little less cut-and-dry.

For some of us, a fun but “not a big deal” hobby becomes serious eventually. The low-level OCD in me (a better expressn might be ATD - Attention To Detail 😉) makes me pursue any interest with great intention, perhaps you understand that feeling. Nearly every hobby I’ve ever embraced has quickly evolved to full-tilt obsession. I want Mastery.

What the Ego wants is crowning achievements, not slow, quantifiable signs of progress and unfortunately, we are willing to cheat the system to appease the Ego monster.

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In the Golfing world, “Bandit” is the term used to describe Golfers who appear to Play Competitions utilising a Higher than appropriate Handicap for their ability in order to Win. This Golfer might subconsciously gravitate towards Courses/Competitions that are less challenging. In doing so, the chance to Learn a vast array of Skills in a less comfortable Environment is potentially by passed.

The Ego wants glory, the Ego wants to look good. The Ego can’t fathom failure.

Ironically, by pursuing “Mastery” in the form of higher achievements on paper, we might be side stepping true Mastery.


Reframing for Mastery

A year or so ago I battled with this dilemma myself (apologies Golfers but it’s the non Golfers turn for an example 😉). I had a goal to Deadlift a certain amount of Weight by the end of the year.

Picking a Weight as a Goal is the first red flag of the Ego: I wasn’t interested in good Form/Technique, I just wanted the Weight. I picked a number that I thought was doable, but I struggled. I was missing the opportunity to improve my Form i.e. using different lifting styles, hold types, body angles etc. Instead I was thrashing and flailing on a single Technique to check a box that somehow signifies I’m now a better Lifter. I was trading long-term progress for a short-term victory — just what the Ego desires. Can you relate Golfers?

Let’s not get it twisted: lifting heavier is a sign of progression. It’s immensely important to struggle, and it’s equally important to have Goals that push you beyond your comfort zone. Having a long-term project is a key element of Learning, but it must be balanced and supported by a hefty base of previous experience.

In the end, I called time on that objective and traded it for a pursuit of Mastery. Instead of striving for the big projects that would take Months of effort, I took on the opportunity to push myself for short-term, Daily Wins, a concept I learnt from Karl Morris of The Mindfactor. I still looked for ways to embrace discomfort, but I wanted a wider breadth of experience not achievable by pursuing a single ‘Weight’. In essence, I wanted to ‘own the Weight’ before throwing on the next plate.

Will the time come again to beat my head against the wall on a single project? Yes, of course. The stories of those who can achieve the seemingly impossible are alluring, but let’s not forget all the small victories that have led up to those crowning achievements.

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The Ego and Money

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For the American audience, we’ve all heard the phrase “keeping up with the Joneses” (or is it Kardashians now 😉?). It’s the idea that the folks down the street (The Joneses) have the latest model car, a well manicured lawn, and a well-maintained home. Our house, with a filthy old car, a moderate but understandable amount of weeds in the garden, and chipping paint, looks comparatively much worse.

So what do we do? We have a subconscious desire to portray an image like the Joneses. What we may not realise though is that the Joneses are far more likely to carry debt and the constant stress of projecting an image of excellence and prestige (plus there’s no practical value to any of it).


Ego: Comparisons and Happiness

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I’m guilty of this as much as anyone. I’ve found myself looking up prices on hardwood flooring, marble counter tops and other vanity items. Everyone in the estate has it, so we at least need to compete, right? What if we want to sell our house? Will we suffer on the value of our home because we don’t have these “essentials?”

The problem is, I don’t really see much value in those items. Others might, and that’s ok. I’m more of a functional guy e.g. Does the table work as a table? Great, I’ll take it.

There’s a very real drive to fit in. As this study by Neuroscientists Michael Lindner and Klaus Fliessbach at the University of Bonn in Germany points out (Read a Summary of their Study Here), our brains actually show different pleasure and pain responses when faced with the successes or failures of our peers. When we perform well and our peers don’t, we’re happy. Conversely, we are upset when we fail and others succeed.

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I think we can all relate this to our Golfing Performance, after all, that’s exactly how the Winner is determined - comparison of your Score against your Peers. However, instead of setting the Score and Winning as the Primary Objective (letting the Ego Monster Drive things), why not set a Personal Goal for the day of what you want to Learn from the Experience - something you have direct control over (the way of a Master 😉)? From my experience those that do the latter aren’t that far away from the Winners circle when the dust settles.


Reflection

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So, I guess I’m doing my part in keeping at least some people happy. Let me explain:
We do what we can to Master this crazy Game. In doing so, these practices enable us the opportunity to pursue Golfing freedom; to enjoy their time on the Course without allowing their Score to ruin the experience. That makes me happy.

However, a Peer might see Mrs. X as someone who could use some improvement and that’s OK. I just believe a Coaches default setting should be to guide a Player on a Journey to Mastery that’s driven by Enjoyment and Fun vs a Pursuit of Excellence driven by Ego.

Keep that Monster in Check Folks 😉! Thanks for reading!

Oliver C. Morton

The Leading Edge Golf Company

www.TheLeadingEdgeGolfCompany.com

Posted
AuthorOliver Morton
CategoriesWider Lens

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Over the last 10+ years I’ve been Coaching a couple of things have become apparent:

  1. You CAN’T Motivate Players but you can Demotivate them; a Coaches Job is to create an Environment that encourages a Players Motivation to flourish. 

  2. Success doesn’t come from having more Motivation. It comes from doing what you need to do, even if you don’t have the Motivation to do it: also known as GRIT! 

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Stop looking for ways to boost your Motivation. Desire, discipline and commitment are the true keys to being World Class. Motivation is a luxury; it’s tinsel on a Christmas Tree. This is why having a structured Plan, orientated around a specific Goal is worth its weight in gold. I say this with confidence due to the success of the Individuals I support via my Connected Coaching Programme.

However, I think we can agree that Motivation (also known as ‘Drive’) is an important element to being good at anything. Without it people simply wouldn’t put in the hours required to refine their ‘Trade’. However, the more I Coach, the more I realise Motivation ebbs and flows, it comes and goes, it adapts and morphs. 

This is a VITAL thing to understand: the Reason(s) why you participate can and likely will change i.e. your initial Reason for Playing might not be your current Reason. Things change and it’s vital you stay aware of, connected to and regularly remind yourself WHY you Participate. 

It’s also important to understand how potent your Reason(s) for Participation are, as some have proven to be more effective than others. However, there’s no right or wrong when it comes to Motivation. The essential thing is that you use your Reason(s) to keep you participating and improving. The below will help you understand where your Motivation sits in the spectrum.


Types of Motivation

Motivation can be categorised into three types: Amotivation, Intrinsic and Extrinsic:

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Amotivation

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The first type of Motivation is Amotivation. This is when an individual has very low levels of Motivation towards any given task. From a Sporting perspective, an Amotivated Athlete doesn’t know why they participate, they won’t find any benefits from participation. Behaviours that relate to Amotivation are a lack of competence and little commitment. An example of this is a Child Playing a Sport because their Parent Forces them… NOT GOOD!

Intrinsic 

The Second Type of Motivation is Intrinsic Motivation. This is the Internal Drive a Person has to participate or to perform well. This can be broken down into three parts: Knowledge, Accomplishment and Stimulation:

  1. The Knowledge aspect of Intrinsic Motivation reflects the need to learn new skills

  2. The Accomplishment aspect reflects the Athletes need to achieve a sense of Mastery of a Task and to feel a sense of achievement from said Mastery.

  3. The Stimulation aspect reflects the sensation associated physically experiencing a specific task. 

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Intrinsic motivation often leads to an overall positive affect on Behaviours and Outcomes. Intrinsic Motivation is advised as the Persons behaviour is a result of internal Drive e.g. somebody participating because it’s fun and enjoyable - they want to see how good they can be (Mastery) rather than doing it for a reward. As a result they have a high probability of prolonged Participation and improved Performance as a result.



Extrinsic

The Third Type of Motivation is Extrinsic Motivation, which is the Drive to participate caused by motives that are External or Environmental. For example; an Athlete is participating to receive a reward or to avoid punishment.

The healthiest form of Extrinsic Motivation is known as “Integrated Regulation”, which is very similar to Intrinsic Motivation; Behaviour, rather than being Externally controlled becomes Internally controlled. However, the Behaviour is Extrinsically Motivated as it is used to achieve a Goal rather than for the joy of participation. 

A great example of this is what we’ve seen in this years Premier League Title Race between Liverpool and Manchester City. The Level of competition between the two sides drove the quality of their Play to astronomical Levels, resulting in Extrinsic rewards i.e. Manchester City winning the Premier League (by a single Point) and Liverpool Winning the Champions League (and accumulating the Highest points Total ever by a Team finishing Second in the Premier League). 

From my Experience effective Motivation is a blend of Intrinsic and Extrinsic Factors - we don’t live in a vacuum! Many Athletes are Driven by the Extrinsic rewards Sport can bring to elevate their situation i.e. Liverpool and Manchester Cities rivalry: the Extrinsic Motivation of defeating a rival can be extremely effective. 

However, in an ideal World, participation should be predominately Intrinsically Motivated as failure to achieve an Extrinsic Goal/Reward can be demotivate, evoke poor Performance, declining Participation and could even result in Dropout (stop Playing altogether). 


Reflection

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To Reflect:

  • Stop looking for ways to boost your Motivation. Success doesn’t come from having more Motivation. It comes from doing what you need to do, even if you don’t have the Motivation to do it: GRIT! 

  • Amotivation depicts Behaviour lacking intension which leads to disorganisation, frustrated involvement and should be avoided at all costs!

  • The Motivation to defeat a rival can be extremely effective. However, in an ideal World, participation should be predominately Intrinsically Motivated as failure to achieve an Extrinsic Goal/Reward can be demotivate, evoke poor Performance, discourage Participation and could even result in Dropout (stop Playing altogether).

  • There is no hierarchy when it comes to Motivation. Your reasons are your reasons and as long as you’re aware of them, stay connected to them it and ensure they’re Positively influencing your well-being, participation and performance then there’s no issue. 

I hope the above has proved useful and/or insightful? If you’re interested in engaging with a Structured Coaching Plan to support your Goals take a look at my Connected Coaching Programme and get in touch.

Thanks for reading!

Oliver C. Morton

The Leading Edge Golf Company

www.TheLeadingEdgeGolfCompany.com


Switch your reason for Playing from Performance to Health and Happiness:

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I don’t mean Physical Health Primarily (although you get a ton of benefits as a by product - click on the image to Learn More), I mean Mental and Emotional Health.

Many start Playing Golf primarily because it’s something Fun to do with their Friends/Family. The Competitive side comes later (see my previous Blog on ‘Growing The Game’).

It’s important to frequently remind yourself and stay connected to your ‘WHY’ i.e why you Play the Game (or anything else for that matter). If you haven’t come across Simon Sineks Book “Find Your Why” I highly recommend you get a copy (Click HERE or on the Image).

Establish exactly what brings you joy from Playing and judge your rounds on that e.g. how many times you laugh, how many beers you drink 😉 etc.

I recently listened to a great Episode of Karl Morris’ Brainbooster Podcast where he discusses gratitude (Click on the Image to have a listen), during which he makes a very poignant point: none of us are Eternal - we all have a finite amount of opportunities to Play. So, on reflection, does that errant shot or higher than desired score really matter enough to spoil the aspects of the Game that are the essence of why you Play?

I’m not for a minute saying that Score doesn’t matter or that Playing well and improving aren’t great reasons. Challenging yourself is healthy. Why I say the above isn’t to create a hierarchy of Motivation, it’s to help you gain perspective on your Performances; to help you stay connected to the reasons you Love the game and to ensure you get the most you possibly can from each and every round you play.

Thanks for reading!

Oliver C. Morton

The Leading Edge Golf Company

www.TheLeadingEdgeGolfCompany.com

Posted
AuthorOliver Morton
CategoriesWider Lens