The best golf advice I ever received was “if you’re a boogie golfer approach each hole with a plan to bogey the hole.” In case you not familiar with the term bogey, it is finishing a hole with one stroke over par.  Once I put this philosophy into place, I started to golf better.  My scores started to get closer to par!!!

(Please stick with this story even if you hate golf.  I will get beyond golf before it is over).

Let me back up a step. I’m sure; everybody has had the experience where we turn in the performance of a lifetime.

Perhaps you have gone out and shot a round of golf about ten strokes lower than usual.   You walk away thinking you are the guy who should be shotting a 77 every time you play.

Then the next time you play lose six balls and find taking solace in the fact that although you lost two sleeves of balls, you are a net winner because you found a random collection of 7 “new to you” balls looking for the balls, you hit out of bounds.

Granted, your “new” balls are mostly brand names you have never heard of with business logos from places you aren’t even sure what business they are in, you are still happy with your new windfall.  You almost forget the 12 penalty strokes you should be adding to your score.*  (See footnote below).

The brief moment of happiness you get from your better than the typical performance leaves you with a lifetime of failing to live up to your new lofty expectation for yourself.

I realize I’m getting lost in golf with my example above.  But the same logic applies to other areas in life.

For example, we can apply the same logic to shooting free throws. If you are a career 60% free throw shooter and you make nine out of ten the next time you play, you are now a 61% free throw shooter.  You can consider yourself a 90% shooter if you have changed something in your approach shooting.  Otherwise, you can look forward to making about six out of your next ten shots.

Would you like me to give a non-sports example?

Let’s says you tend to make rock hard cookies or burn the cake, but one day everything comes together, and you make a “to die for.” dessert.

I think you get the picture.

Many of us seem out of touch with who we are, frustrated with where we are, and our situation.  My experience when things go right, we attribute the results to ourselves, and when something goes wrong, it is bad luck.

So I’ve adopted a stress-reducing way to live my life, and  I want to pass it along.

It seems we all have three choices.  Accept our current performance for what it is.  See ourselves as not cut out for the task at hand and move on to something else.  Realize we need to work to improve our performance.

I challenge you to make a list of this you are doing with your time.   Put each item into one of those three categories; Not cut out to do, happy with the current level of performance, and the things you need to improve.

With the list of things, you’re not cut out to do, stop doing them.

With the list of things you are happy with your current level of performance, stop having

Anxiety over them, and enjoy them.

With the list of things, you want to improve, come up with an improvement plan.  If you can’t come up with an improvement plan, the item should move to one of the other lists.

I promise if you try this system out, you will be happier with your results, and you will see improvement with several things. You will stop trying to accomplish the unlikely, and you will have a plan for improving things you have a realistic chance at improving.

By the way, golf is on my improvement list, free throws are on my happy with the current level of performance list, and baking is on my not cut out the to-do list.

*It is essential to note you do need to count these strokes when asked about your score by a fellow golfing buddy, but you don’t have to report these strokes when reporting into your wife.  A wife could think golf is a waste of money.  High scores might make her think you are a lousy golfer, and you should give up playing!  Here is a great chance to let her know you made money because you have more golf balls in your bag than when you left.