Anxiety, Ambition & Golf?
Last week’s story was a rather serious one on a social level, regarding the Zuma Must Fall Billboard (read here), so this week I thought I’d make it more personal, motivational and hopefully relaxed (though this may be an oxymoronic wish), to help get you through your boss’s boring drone about punctual time sheet delivery.
This Thursday, 28th Jan, has been ever imminent for me, as it’s the day I finally pack my bags for broader horizons and foggier skies. It’s not completely the happiest of times for me. I am spectacularly excited, but nervous about leaving my comfortable, arse-impressioned couch, family & friends, and everything else I do day-to-day with a smile.
Let’s get things clear, I’m leaving for:
- Cultural learnings and a spiritual growth. Not in the way I wish to Zen out and become closer with my bonsai. Although I must admit, I do quite fancy a good bonsai. But to just mature into a globalised human with a more worldly moulding. As much as I feel I am a South African, in the same vane I feel I am a child of this world.
- Ambition. Career & experience wise.
- Money. Because I have expensive taste.
It’s very rare a wise career move has a conscience, and I’ve spoken before about point 1 over here: What I Learned Going into 2016 , so the focus will be more toward ambition & the anxiety cart mounted to that oxen, and a little about money. Not so much the zeros in your bank account, but the bigger picture of that topic.
“I used to think as I looked out on the Hollywood night — there must be thousands of girls sitting alone like me, dreaming of becoming a movie star. But I’m not going to worry about them. I’m dreaming the hardest.” — Marilyn Monroe
It comes down to what I was pondering over the last couple anxious, sleepless nights: ‘Growth vs Loss’.
I don’t refer to this in a financial sense, although it does apply & may have a little click-bait for you penny-counters, but rather personal or spiritual growth & loss.
I came across a study in the week where they applied this to golfers. You need not be a sports guru, but the objective in golf is to complete the course/holes with the least amount of shots as possible, tallying your score against an average or break even (par 72). Anyway, this isn’t the topic of boring golf. The results from the study revealed that exactly equal objectives for these golfers had a greater success (only a few percent, but that really does add up on a number of areas) for when the golfers were playing for par, than when they were playing for birdie. In other words, they applied themselves more when it came to the fear of losing a score they already acquired, compared to gaining an advantage on the score they already acquired.
This study ultimately was to reveal the potential millions swung in professional opponents favour because of these subconscious, protective instincts, but also what was taken out of this, was human’s motivational force. Even if it were to be equal to the unknown requirements, one would rather brace the consistency and bare the complacency than to seek growth, in fear of loss.
Now that little observation can be applied to your personal life in whatever way you relate or not, but I noticed these nervous pressures in my life, especially in current times due to my nearing adventures ahead.
There’s a bundle of feelings and thoughts that come into play at these times, which creates anxiety, something I’ve had come in bouts over the past few years, albeit since the first occasion I have mental coping methods that I am very reliant upon and always makes the sun shine bright again. It is something that I know a lot of people, especially in my type of industry and lifestyle, endure. Yet we think of it more as a taboo to talk about — I wish it were talked of more, when the time is right of course.
Just last week, one of my most admired designers, Tobias Van Schneider, posted an article on anxiety issues (read here), which was some kind of fate that the world mentioned something I am experiencing and feel is important, from someone I find important. Interesting how the world works like that…
My anxiety comes when I am complacent. When I feel stationary or drifting from my intended focus. I feel my stomach telling me the right direction, yet waiting for my mind to catch up to rationalise it over. I find the mind having to catch up a very crucial step, but this is the limbo period where I experience anxiety. And heaven forbid I deny a gut decision for my mind disregarding the instinct or whatever be it… then I’m a mess. But that rarely happens anyway.
Anxiety almost always is because of one of the following (I speak of general life experience, I rarely recite exact figures as that’s not my wish with these articles.):
- Partner (or lack of): Girlfriend/boyfriend/wife/husband
- Social environment (or lack of): Friend circles
- Career (or lack of): working pressure or little acknowledgment
- Addiction: sex/alcohol/drugs
- A lie/secret: usually about or from one of the above.
I can assure you, that one, or combination, of these is the manifestation and removing that is the ‘macrostep’ to betterment. Your ‘microsteps’ along the way are for my understanding small, personal aids with the main step in mind. I am not necessarily suggesting you enter a divorce with your husband of 15 years, but a change needs to happen for a foundation to build upon. Rational thought must be taken with this piece of advice, please.
You may find this a simple suggestion, but that is because I make the issue simple. I say to myself, “this is a simple issue, Mike. It’s easily overcome with time and a corrective direction”. This takes the power away from the issue and rather fills your fat, lovable self with power. This is your starting place — being on top of it.
I take this as a personal strength, I believe my anxious feelings are an indicator I mustn’t stagnate and seek a bigger picture. Which is something contrary to popular mindsets, as the golfing study suggests. I am by no means forcing a broader horizon upon anybody as they may get anxious over the opposite, but I certainly encourage it.
I see ‘par’ as a loss. I regard not going forward, as backward. It’s even worse than backward on a couple levels — backward is a consequence with a forced radicalisation, but staying still, the game moves around you, yet don’t feel repercussion, so no need to improve. This is a ‘losing’ mentality to adopt.
Money, is an anxiety juggernaut, which we are all ambitious to stuff our pockets full of. One must acknowledge money is influential, and allows experimentation in tough times. The motivation behind it shouldn’t necessarily be to pop champagne and buy expensive escorts. Some of the most wealthy & famous people of our wonderful world are incredibly sad & lonely individuals. Rather focus the money bags as being an essential tool to fulfilling other important, holistic needs your soul requires.
I remember an old Creative Director of mine, someone who I thought was a little bit of an arrogant ballbag, but I admired him regardless… He said something that has always stuck with me:
“I want to change the world, and being an artist I wasn’t going to do that. So what, advertising is selling your soul? This is how I can change the world.” — Arrogant Ballbag
He was very right I felt, and still feel. There is always the romanticised method to achieving your aspirations, yet sometimes it comes down to selling a little bit of yourself for the remaining part of you to really revel in a personal achievement…
Unless of course you’re a trust fund baby, just sleeping late and calling yourself an artist, then by all means take the romantic way on full force!
AND don’t get me wrong boys and girls, I’m a huge advocate for enjoying your time. You have the ticket to life, so enjoy the ride. And if you have a first-class ticket, then all the better.
Ultimately to me, ambition and anxiety are a pair of intertwined tree trunks full of rough bark that is going to rash you in embarrassing areas, & nesting eyeball-sucking spiders snagging you with their silver ribbon along the way to the top.
My encouragement is to pursue and maintain focus; laugh about the rash, it’s not an STD, or not a serious one at least. Shake the little 8-legged shit off and watch him fall, because once you break on through to the balcony atop it all, you can see the whole forest you are apart of. And it’s fucking brilliant.
I am only in competition with one person: myself.
The only person I want to be better than is the person I was yesterday.
PS. Here is a pic of me with a lion cub. I love you Africa!
From next week’s story I will be posting out of London!!!!!