“You have a real talent”
This phrase has haunted me the whole of my life… why? Let me explain.
People always say that you shouldn’t worry about what other people say and think about you, but let’s be honest. That’s just bullshit to make you feel better and build your confidence level. As much as we don’t want to admit it, pleasing people is part of human nature. It’s the reason why we want to have friends and be around people, the reason you post that picture on Instagram or post that new profile picture on Facebook. We want to be loved and we need to welcome people in, whether you be an introvert or extrovert. Therefore, you need to appreciate what people’s opinions are of you, to be able to further your social standing. It’s just basic logic. Of course, you have to take what people say with a pinch of salt (because it is your life at the end of the day) but it’s integral to our development that we take advice or take a few hits on what we are doing to progress.
Expectation is a real troublesome emotion. It can work both ways; 1) people can expect too much from you and you don’t deliver and 2) people don’t think anything of you and you prove them wrong. I’d like to think I have experience of both ways, although the latter is still developing and an ongoing project.
Why am I telling you this? Why now? What happened?
Well… quite simply I had a conversation with a family member recently about what I have been doing over the last few years and we got onto the topic of my golf. That’s where the phrase resonated again in my mind and all the memories of past expectation flooded back.
I remember, it was probably about 10 years ago now, I was at the Shooters Hill Junior Open (not competing), just having a few practice shots in the one practice net opposite the putting green. At the time, this event was one of the biggest on the Kent Golf calendar, with many of the Kent junior squad coming from Shooters Hill. Now the event ceases to even exist. Anyhow, I remember distinctly a Kent Junior Golf scout asking my dad if I was competing and subsequently asking me to hit a few shots. Thereafter I was called to regional coaching for Kent and made some appearances for the regional side at the time. Why is this important? The scout said to my dad: “your boy has a real talent, he’s something special”. That brought expectation to become of the best in the county at the age of Kent.
I’m not (and never have I been) the best golfer in the county. At the time, there was a competition that a boy who is now at the top of his game and I were both competing. They are now leading the world amateur rankings and all at the age of 18. Ten years ago, they were best in the county and I was 6th best. How times change. But it wasn’t for me. I was never inclined to pursue professional golf.
When I had that conversation with the family member, they said; “sounds like you have a real talent, why didn’t you pursue it” talking about my golfing career (if you could call it that). Category-one golfers and better out there reading this; you’ll understand that it is insanely difficult to explain to someone with zero clue about golf that playing off 4 handicap means; yes you’re good but you’ve got very little chance of making it professional.
In golf, the top 1% in the world have a chance to make it big. Even then, you’ve got to fight and compete to battle and outweigh the big guns already on the circuit. For someone like me, it’s not sustainable. I admire anyone who decides to take on the challenge, but I was more academically inclined.
As much as when I had that conversation, I was waiting for it to end. You often feel trapped because whatever you say to get out, doesn’t seem to register as an escape and leans the argument more against you.
That’s the example of how people had expectation of me, I tried to maintain the golf alongside my studies; but eventually the time to shine was over and I stuck to what I had been working hard at and now I’m at university. Guess it all works out. Any regrets? Yes, there always will be. But, I am content with my situation, the experiences I’ve had. I can’t ask for anything else.
The other way, is a work-in-progress like I eluded to earlier. It’s fair to say, I didn’t enjoy school. Always felt left out and I stuck out like a sore thumb on ocassion. University is much better suited to my vision of education. More independent and more like what I’d expect to face in ‘real life’. Reasons I didn’t like school were probably my own making. Never felt fully socially integrated. That’s the past but I don’t believe many people thought much of me. That’s why when I write. I write with such passion. In an effort to prove the people of the past wrong. Here is an example of where someone should not take not of what people say. But how can you not? It’s shaped who I am, and who I strive to be.
If you have experienced either one of these alternatives, you’ll know its a hard climb up a mountain that you want to reach the top of, because you know you are capable. In the first case, people believe you are too. In the latter, you don’t have any real backing except family in most cases, but it’s not enough to satisfy your ego.
Sometimes you have to go it alone. Sometimes it’s hard. But at the end of the day, you’ll be remembered for what you produce in the conclusion. Whatever you do, taking people’s opinions on the chin, is the best way to further your self-esteem and stay motivated.
Don’t know if that made much sense but I think it needed to be said.
Keep grinding people, everyone is waiting for you to produce fireworks; but only you know when and how magnificent those fireworks will be…