The 1-Hole Tale: A certain-uncertainty perspective toward living life
The 1-hole tale:
Once upon a time there was a golfer playing on a beautiful mountain course. On the first hole, he bombs his tee shot at least 300 yards right down the middle of the faiway. His playing partner congratulated him, “Wow. What a shot! Amazing”. The golfer replied, “Maybe.” After their tee shot, both of them walked on to their next shot. The golfer grabbed his 4-iron intending to reach the green. With the ball sitting on a tight lie and dry ground, he skulled his iron into the lake. “That’s unfortunate,” his playing partner said as the ball sank to the bottom of the pond. The golfer again replied, “Maybe,” and proceeded to drop his ball in the designated area. He then grabbed his 6-iron and flushed his next shot beautifully onto an elevated green. “Nice one! Great shot.” Said his playing partner as they watched the ball landed onto a blinded green. “Maybe,” the golfer replied. Both players walked up a steep slope to find zero golf balls on the green. Where did it go? Turns out that the balls ended up in a bunker behind the green. “That sucks! We coulda have a simple putt to save par,” said his partner while fixing the ball mark next to the pin. Once again, the golfer replied, “Maybe.”
“The whole process of nature is an integrated process of immense complexity, and it’s really impossible to tell whether anything that happens in it is good or bad.”
The golfer steadfastly abstained from thinking of things in terms of gain or loss, advantage or disadvantage, because one never knows… In fact we never really know whether an event is fortune or misfortune.
I was inspired by the original story written by a British philosopher and writer, Alan Watts, who was among the first to bring Zen Buddhist’s thought to the West. By merging ancient wisdom with the evolving insights of modern psychology, Watts’s teachings addressed such concerns as how to live with presence, what makes us who we are, the difference between money and wealth, the art of timing, and how to find meaning in meaninglessness.
Read the original parable here: https://www.themarginalian.org/2015/11/06/alan-watts-swimming-headless/
“The last of the human freedoms is to choose one’s attitudes… When we are no longer able to change a situation, we are challenged to change ourselves.”
-Viktor E. Frankl
While on this matter, Viktor Emil Frankl is another author that came to my mind. He was an Austrian neurologist, psychiatrist, philosopher, author, and Holocaust survivor. As a Jewish, Frankl was arrested by Nazi German authorities in September 1942, along with his pregnant wife, his parents, and his brother. They were deported from their beloved Vienna and were transported to Auschwitz in Poland, where all of them, except Frankl, died. In his book Man’s Search for Meaning, the core of Frankl’s philosophy is that a man’s deepest desire is to find meaning in his life.
To Frankl, while a man’s destiny in life is certainly affected by the circumstances in which he finds himself, he is ultimately free to choose his own path in life. Even in the worst situation possible, man always has the freedom to choose his attitude towards life.
“Everything can be taken from a man but one thing: the last of the human freedoms — to choose one’s attitude in any given set of circumstances, to choose one’s own way.”
-Viktor E. Frankl
Frankl kept his will to meaning — his desire to live a meaningful life — alive through his 3 years in the camps by focusing on the potential meanings he could create for himself. In addition to finding meaning in his suffering, Frankl motivated himself by thinking about the work he wanted to do after leaving the camp. Thus, if one can find that meaning, one can survive anything.
How did the story above shift your current perspective? Do you understand the importance of your attitude now? What is your next step to find that meaning for your life? Will you make any actionable changes today?
If this subject interests you to do further research. In the topic of philosophy, I’d recommend Stoicism for starter. A book written by Ryan Holliday is an easy read and it’ll get you hooked. For psychology, I really like Simon Sinek’s teaching. Feel free to reach out through any of my social media account, I’d love to hear your thoughts on these topics. Let’s discuss.