Learn Virtues Like You Learn to Golf


I love to play golf, but in full disclosure I must inform everyone reading I am not a great golfer. But I love the game, and I love being out on the grass. Being surrounded by all the trees and grass can be very therapeutic.

The golf swing is a very complicated thing, and any number of coaches or pro’s could give you literally thousands of different pointers on how to improve your swing. Here are just a few of the basics:

-keep your head down
-don’t grip the club too tight
-swing with your hips
-follow through
-don’t swing too hard
(this list could go on and on for days)

These are just a few of the pointers that you will hear when learning to golf, but the biggest secret is this- YOUR BODY ALREADY KNOWS HOW TO SWING. Its a natural motion, and if you over think it- you will miss the ball altogether. So what I learned from a pro was this:

FOCUS ON ONE GOLF TIP AT A TIME

So for me, when I get out on the golf course and prepare for my swing- I make sure I’m loosened up, I take a couple of practice swings, and then I focus on ONE thing- keeping my eye focused on the ball. I let my body do the rest. A smooth, crisp drive along an open fairway is a thing of beauty. Sometimes I will focus on a single golf tip for the entire summer- training myself is not easy. It takes patience, focus, and hard work.

Practicing virtues in our life is a lot like practicing a golf swing. If you try to do everything at once you will be overwhelmed, but if you can focus on a single virtue at a time- whether it be honesty, patience, courage, or charity- the other virtues will follow because they are already part of you.

RETURN TO VIRTUES is all about going back to the principles we as a society and as individuals know, but sometimes forget. With facebook, twitter, blogs, and google we are flooded with information- but what does all of it teach us? All the blogs in the world won’t make a difference in society unless we can implement the lessons we learn.

William Faulkner said it much better than I could in his Nobel Prize Speech. Speaking about how authors must re-learn the most important truths of our society, he said:

“[The Author] must learn them again. He must teach himself that the basest of all things is to be afraid; and, teaching himself that, forget it forever, leaving no room in his workshop for anything but the old verities and truths of the heart, the old universal truths lacking which any story is ephemeral and doomed – love and honor and pity and pride and compassion and sacrifice. Until he does so, he labors under a curse. He writes not of love but of lust, of defeats in which nobody loses anything of value, of victories without hope and, worst of all, without pity or compassion. His griefs grieve on no universal bones, leaving no scars. He writes not of the heart but of the glands.

Until he relearns these things, he will write as though he stood among and watched the end of man. I decline to accept the end of man. It is easy enough to say that man is immortal simply because he will endure: that when the last dingdong of doom has clanged and faded from the last worthless rock hanging tideless in the last red and dying evening, that even then there will still be one more sound: that of his puny inexhaustible voice, still talking. I refuse to accept this. I believe that man will not merely endure: he will prevail. He is immortal, not because he alone among creatures has an inexhaustible voice, but because he has a soul, a spirit capable of compassion and sacrifice and endurance.”

-William Faulkner (excerpt from his Noble Prize speech)

I have challenged all of my Virtue Volunteers to make March the Month of Integrity- to focus just on this one virtue. I will document how it affects every facet of their lives. I anxiously await the results.

Comments

2 Responses to “Learn Virtues Like You Learn to Golf”

  1. Susie Lomax says:

    One of the things I love about goals and pursuing them is repetition. Like Tiger woods and that great swing, a thousand balls a day to reach his goal. Scientifically proven that repetition changes the neural networks in the brain. By focusing every day on how we can bring integrity to our work, relationships, even our attitudes what amazing things can we bring into being by doing this. What you are doing is great, and very powerful.
    Susie Lomax

  2. Adrian @adriandayton says:

    Thanks Susie, the greatest power of this project is that these virtues are already a part of each one of us. We have very unique and strong feelings about integrity, and that’s ok. My hope is to inspire people to live the month of integrity in a way that is important to them.

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