Rory McIlroy swings

Rory McIlroy finishes long iron stroke (Source: Wikimedia)

The golf swing is to success on the links, as unique potential is to success in life.

Golf has many aficionados who see the challenge of golf as a metaphor for the challenge of life.

The goal of golf is to complete an 18-hole course using the least number of strokes; our goal in life is to seek the maximum utilization of our human potentials.

Most who attempt to play golf try to pick up the game on their own. They may go to a driving range, and then, after watching others strike the ball, begin with a vicious cut at the ball in an egotistical effort to hit it farther and straighter than anyone else. As they practice, they begin to develop their own idiosyncratic golf swing.

They then proceed to play the game.

On occasion, they will take pleasure in a long drive, an iron shot holding the green, or maybe in sinking a long putt. But depending upon their temperament, they will spend far more time experiencing frustration, anger, and disappointment. Spend the day observing golfers at a local course, and you will quickly see this imbalance of pleasant and unpleasant emotions.

The problem is most golfers never come to understand that centrifugal force, not their own muscles, is what powers the golf ball to go long and true. By swinging too hard and too fast, golfers will overpower this natural force.

Worse, such hard and fast swings will rely only upon the smaller muscles above the waist—hands, arms, and shoulders—while failing to utilize the larger muscles below—hips, thighs, and legs—which better enhance the power of centrifugal force.

Watch the swing of Rory McIlroy in slow motion, and marvel at how every ounce of human power, from his fingers to his toes, is put in motion. Observe how disciplined this flow must be in order to support, but never overwhelm, the natural power of centrifugal force. This human-with-nature connection of effort is beautiful to behold.

The proper golf swing—the swing that successfully connects the body to centrifugal force—provides the metaphor for how we can experience the maximum utilization of our potentials, and thus success in life.

Each of us has been gifted with a unique potential that defines our true destiny. How successfully we will fulfill that destiny is determined by how well we learn to connect with, and support, the deeper intellectual, emotional, and spiritual resources that form our unique potential.

In golf, if we misuse our free will, and allow our ego to overpower centrifugal force, or if we allow our emotions—dictated by desire for success and fear of failure—to impact our swing, we will seldom be satisfied by the results.

The right swing for us exists within us; we must simply discipline ourselves and our bodies to support it.

A beautiful and effective golf swing requires human effort working in harmony with natural force. A beautiful and effective life requires the unity of our free will and our unique potential, resulting in the fulfillment of our true destiny.

When we are able to give up control of our lives, and instead follow our unique potential wherever it may lead, then, like the professional golfer, we will develop a swing that ignores fear, provides a powerful self-confidence, and embraces failure as a learning experience—all traits that can be utilized throughout life.

Our unique potential can do all that.