Jay Shirley

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The Daily Practice

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Golfing for the next generation.

Published: 08 Aug 2011

When my wife and I started dating she was appalled I was playing video games. They were for children, teenagers at best. For years we went back and forth. I earnestly tried to explain the positive effects and the social aspect. She said they were for children and was not being swayed. I never played games like World of Warcraft. I played silly first person shooters. The important thing is that I could get up from at any time.

It is, and always has been, about that mental escape. It’s guided meditation. It lets my brain forget about a task at hand and explore.

I keep a notebook next to me while I play games and I only play games that have reasonably long pauses in between turns. So when I die, I get a minute to write down what I thought. There are sometimes I just stop playing completely, much to the annoyance of whoever I happen to be playing with.

That’s the other negative thing about this style. I’m forced to play online. Single player games don’t make you think about what you’ve done wrong for a minute. Nobody would play those. Except me.

This brings me into the social aspect. I’m pretty sure that when people hold congress over a game of golf, the golf becomes that focal point. People can speak freely. Same with fishing. There is friendly competition which makes it easier to talk about more important things.

When people are focusing on something silly, the serious things also become silly. This is why golf is where it’s at. I have heard many people say they don’t enjoy the game but they enjoy the competition and the experience of being out there with colleagues or potential business partners. Then to get better, they take classes and invest time.

This is why I will never play golf. I can’t invest time in something like this. I see no reward in it for me. I’m not competitive on a golf course and doubt I ever would be. I like to play racquetball, but I’m not competitive there, either. I then worry and wonder if my lack of a competitive drive on the golf course means that in business and product development I’m also not competitive. If I wonder that, I’m sure potential partners do.

It’s fair. I don’t think I would be cutthroat and ruthless to get a deal. I’d want everyone to be happy. The products I develop won’t be the best products for everyone and I want customers to like me. I don’t think I can have customers that like me and my company by being a blowhard that can always sell them. Sure, we probably can make what the customer wants but it won’t be good and it won’t be deserving of their money.

At this point I get filled with self-doubt. Is it really correct I can be successful without being extremely aggressive with sales? I think I can, but I don’t know I can. When I don’t know something, I lose confidence. Without confidence when I pitch a product to customers I stammer.

I remind myself that this, for me, is about enjoying the journey. I want to be tired, exhausted and when I get to the top take pride in the route I took. It’s not about riches or fame, it’s about having happy employees that love their job.

That’s the way I want do it, and if I can’t do it my way I won’t do it at all. I’d rather fail doing what I want than succeed at something else.