DISCS & ZEN – A Game of Gaining and Losing Control

I will admit to you that I have a fear of flying. It’s not a debilitating fear, I still get on airplanes and maintain my composure without having any type of substance to help, but when that airplane pulls out onto the runway and those engines begin to rev up, I really begin to feel the fear. How I get through this, I suppose, is by reminding myself how wonderful whatever trip I’m about to go on will be and getting through this fear will be worth it.

Interestingly enough, I have no fear of heights and I think I really have less of a fear of death than most people (as a medic firefighter, I believe face I it little more often than most). I also have no fear of cars and as they all say you have a better chance of dying in a car accident than in an airplane crash. So I will take my admission one step further and state that my fear of flying is not necessarily a fear of being up in the air or dying in an airplane, it is a fear of not being in control.

I think for many people this fear comes standard. It may manifest itself in a multitude of different ways including phobias, personality traits, and behaviors. Most people do not like to give up control.

It is interesting, then, to ask a question: do we really have control of ourselves? Obviously most of us believe we can control our behaviors and our actions. But where do our actions begin? They begin with our thinking and our feelings. Our control of ourselves begins with the controlling of our thoughts and feelings.

Continuing with the Zen and the Art of Disc Golf metaphor used in my book: when we hold disc golf up and look at it from a certain angle, disc golf can become a window to ourselves and to our lives. When we step up on the tee pad we have control over the type of throw we are going use, our disc selection, and we have control of our thoughts about the shot. But all control ends when that disc leaves your hands. The flight of that disc and the lie of that disc is dependent on a multitude of factors from the wind, the trees, the terrain – Once that disc leaves your hands control is lost.

Really successful disc golfers know this even if they have never really labeled it in this way. They know upon release, that they have done everything that they could do to control shot but once they let go, all control is lost. The only control you have over your round begins in your head, is transmitted through your body, to your hand, and ends when that plastic leaves your hand. In a way, every shot in our game is a combination of gaining and losing control – over and over again.

In life it is the same. Truly successful people understand that success comes with risk, and to never do anything that scares us or makes us feel like we are not in control would lead to never being truly successful. Success begins with gaining control over ourselves followed by losing control by putting yourself out there to win.

Every blog, every podcast, every tweet, and especially the book is a combination of controlling content – then releasing it to the world and hoping it flies the way I hope it will. But if I never would have let go, I wouldn’t be living the dream that I am now, being able to make disc golf a part of my living.

That being said – I release another post, hoping it flies straight and hits chains the way I am hoping it will!

Patrick McCormick

– Author of Zen & The Art of Disc Golf
– Host of The Zen Disc Golf Podcast

Featured photo by @alrightguyy on Instagram

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