Not Fore! Just One or Two!

"You leave her alone! I know you try to help, but you will only confuse her! I give her the two things she should think about during her swing. More than that, it is just too much. Just too much!" Through her thick French accent, Mary Claire admonished my husband in the sternest golf pro tone her 100 pounds could muster.

She started to walk away, then pirouetted round her pitching wedge and pointed to my well-meaning spouse, "So no talking to her, except to say good job or somezing like zat."

Okay, I thought, smirking at my handsome golfing partner, I'm going to be quoting dear Mary Claire all the live long day. "Remember! No talking! Unless it's to say good jaaah-ahhb!!"

She came over to me once more. "When you are chipping, you must remember these two things..."

I nodded and aligned my stance. Silent hands, weight forward, half swing and...I chipped that bad boy right into the hole! Seriously. ONE SHOT! I believe it's called a hole-in-one, although the fact I was standing only twelve yards away might detract from the sheer awesomeness of my accomplishment. Just a wee bit. Anyway, it was still enough to impress Mary Claire.

"See, see! " she applauded. "You just take one or two things at a time and it comes together. Perfect. Perfect. Just like that!"

While I attribute my golfing triumph more to luck (and ironically, to my husband's contraband advice to adjust my stance) than to Mary Claire's "two things", there is still a good deal of wisdom in her words.

Whether I'm on the green or off the course entirely, I often fall prey to the paralysis of thinking too much. I become easily overwhelmed by my innumerable shortcomings and harmful habits, and I flounder in discouragement, only further impairing my ability to improve.

But, if I focus on one or two areas rather than letting the whole of my inadequacy overwhelm me, I can make progress. While it rarely takes the form of a hole-in-one, the chipping away at the problem areas, stroke by stroke, is effective in moving me toward the person I desire to be.

To use a silly but very real example, I know it annoys my husband to no end when I ask "where ya going?" the moment he shifts his weight on the couch. As pathetic as it is, I've had to employ the vast majority of my brain cells to stop demanding he reveal his intended location at all times.

But here's the heartening part. The more I intentionally focus on one area and succeed (such as keeping my mouth shut when he moseys into the kitchen for a snack), the more that "right way" of doing something sticks and becomes habitual, even second nature. Then I can move on to concentrate on one of the other hundreds thousands of things in my life that need improvement.

So, to paraphrase the great Mary Claire, golf pro extraordinaire, focus on just one or two things at a time and it will come together, stroke by stroke. And that's what works for me!

(At least that's what works for me metaphorically, you know, in life. On the golf course, there might not be anything that works for me.... )

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