“There’s a force in the universe that makes things happen. And all you have to do is get in touch with it, stop thinking, let things happen, and be the ball.”
The movie Caddyshack opens with Chevy Chase’s character sharing this little piece of advice to his young caddy. It turns out, following this advice will do more than improve your golf game, it will help you achieve everything you’ve ever dreamed of.
The application of this rule applies to any success you wish to attain. It can guide you towards living a comfortable retirement or any of the memorable mileposts you wish to visit on the way to retirement.
“Be the ball” is a simple rule. All it asks is that you forget all the noise around you and become one with your objective.
But it’s more than just focusing on that objective. In the case of Caddyshack (and golf in general), you become the ball, imaging what’s needed to nudge it and direct it into the hole.
Wouldn’t you like to get everything you want? “Be the ball” offers a sound strategy for accomplishing this.
“Be the ball.” Only, in this case, you are the ball. All it takes is answering (honestly) a half-dozen questions. Can you do that?
Before you try, though, make sure you’re properly prepared. Do a quick internal gut check to verify you really know how your mind works. If you haven’t already, take some time to methodically delineate your personal creed. Once you’ve completed that step, use what you’ve discovered to find and summarize your life’s purpose. With these two exercises finished, you’re now ready.
Here’s how you can “be the ball” and move yourself closer to achieving your lifetime dream.
First, you need to loosen the burdens of today from your mind. This will help get your creative juices flowing. Everyone has their own preferred method of relaxing. Do yours now.
Once you’re comfortable, (and, yes, you may lounge on a soft sofa as you go through these questions), start imagining the future, your future.
How far out into the future must you imagine?
Don’t think next week or next year. That’s not far enough. That timeframe is near enough that some of the collateral obstacles of everyday life can seep into your thinking. No, think farther out.
But not too far out. Trying to imagine thirty or forty (and sometimes even twenty) years out amounts to nothing more than science fiction. Look, forty years ago, Disco was the top of the charts and everyone thought the Red Sox and Cubs were cursed and would never win the World Series.
That distant of a future lies far beyond the horizon. If something is beyond the horizon, it means you can’t see it.
Don’t think beyond the horizon.
Instead imagine a future up to the horizon. Depending on your age, this can be somewhere between ten and twenty years away. It’s far enough away that you can ignore all the noise of today, yet near enough that you have some sense of what you’re seeing.
As you converge on a useful timeframe, you can begin to paint a picture. This picture will show you what your life will look like in this future.
To paint the picture with as many colors as possible, jot down the answers to the following six questions:
- What have you accomplished? For each accomplishment, tell a short story that explains why you accomplished it. If you’re motivated, also explain how you accomplished it.
- How do other people (and maybe organizations) see you? Briefly note why it’s important to you that they see you this way.
- Where are you located? Quickly indicate why you are located there.
- Who is near you? Why is it important these people are near you?
- What are you doing? Concisely write down why you are doing this.
- How do you feel? Explain why you feel this way.
If you haven’t guessed it by now, among the key factors to attaining success in anything is visualizing that success. After truthfully answering these six questions, you will have visualized your success.
While Chevy Chase made have mouthed the “Be the Ball” Rule in Caddyshack, it’s Bill Murray’s lowly greenskeeper character that best provides the operational definition for painting your future. Here’s what he imagined out loud as he stood outside of the clubhouse with nothing more than a bag of golf clubs and a few rows of innocent mums:
What an incredible Cinderella story! This unknown comes outta nowhere to lead the pack at Augusta. He’s on his final hole. He’s about 455 yards away. He’s going to hit about a two iron, I think. Well, he got all of that. The crowd is standing on its feet. The normally reserved crowd… …is going wild! For this young Cinderella who has come out of nowhere… …he’s got about 350 yards left. He’s gonna hit about a five iron… …I would expect. Don’t you think? He’s got a beautiful back swing. That’s…oh! He got all of that one! He’s got to be pleased with that. The crowd is just on its feet here. He’s a Cinderella boy. Tears in his eyes, I guess, as he lines up this last shot. He’s got about 195 yards left, and… he’s gotta… …looks like he’s got an eight iron. This crowd has gone deadly silent. Cinderella story. Out of nowhere. A former greenskeeper now about to become the Master’s champion. It looks like a mirac-… It’s in the hole! It’s in the hole!”
If you want a great example of how to paint the picture of your lifetime dream, you can do no worse than this.
Now, go out there and “be the ball!”