Consider this...

By Mike Johnson


Several years ago, in what seems like another life, I was riding stores with a colleague. A Monday morning, we were lamenting having to work on such a beautiful day when we passed a golf course. We glanced to our left just in time to see a man about our age slamming his club to the ground, obviously unhappy with his tee-shot.

What a dope!, we thought. Here was a guy who was fortunate enough to be golfing on a Monday morning, yet here he was all upset instead--oblivious to his good fortune. So lost in failing to meet his momentary golf expectations that he was ruining his entire morning. Trapped in ties and the pressures of the corporate world, we'd have traded places with him in a heartbeat.

How easy it is to make ourselves miserable--even in obviously great situations. We unknowingly write scripts of what we expect from each and every moment of life and then focus exclusively and constantly on meeting that script. When things don't conform to that plan --which they often don't -- negative feelings roll over us. This is about the time that golf clubs begin to fly.

Although that peeved golfer appeared to be fully conscious, in reality he was fast asleep. Asleep to the knowledge of what he had just done to himself. He actually had two opportunities to prevent his ruined morning. The first chance was missed when he failed to control his expectations of the day. Instead of accepting the beauty and good fortune that surrounded him --shooting for enjoyment -- he set a Jack Nicklaus-type standard for himself--shooting for par instead. He unwittingly, unconsciously, wrote a script that set himself up for failure.

His second opportunity came after the dubbed tee shot. His response was immediate and without thought -- he threw the club. Had he been awake, watching the negative thoughts roll over him, he could've refused to act on them, refused to even call them his, and watched them dissipate. He would've seen better options of how to respond. Darn, he might have said. What can I do next time to avoid that result? Beautiful day out isn't it?

Unrealistic? Pollyanna thinking?

Only to the mental novice. It is possible to stop the treadmill of creating self-written scripts of expectations and then thoughtlessly riding off on negative feelings when they aren't achieved. We can write scripts that stack the deck in our favor. We can let negative feelings roll over us without riding off on them. Just because so few people do, doesn't mean that we can't wake up and be different.

After all, the stakes are pretty high--happiness or not.

Without learning to control our thoughts, our lives become a roller coaster ride of one failed expectation after another where we react brainlessly and then spend days or months or years picking up the pieces of our rash actions.

Like any other skill, with practice, controlling our thoughts can be learned. But first we have to wake up. We have to remember we're always on the golf course on a Monday morning.

Happiness has always been here. It's here right now. This very instant.

Just clear your mind of all expectations and watch it reappear.

After passing the golf course, we drove by a blood plasma center with a line of people outside, many who looked unemployed and impoverished. I thought about how rich we must have looked to them. I thought about my job complaints of a moment ago. And I thought of what they'd think of me for complaining about my job.

What a Dope!

Suddenly, I felt like a golfer throwing clubs on a Monday morning.


Mike Johnson is an energetic writer & entrepreneur. Learn more about Mike's offerings at