I hate myself. Well, actually thatís not true. My Self One
hates me. My Self Two loves me. But my Self Two hates my Self One, which
creates a particularly ugly situation.
This may sound confusing, but it really isnít. I learned
all this by reading "The Inner Game of Golf" and "The Inner
Game of Tennis," which was first published in 1974 and is considered
by many to be the bible of sports psychology.
My Self One, claims the book, is my conscious being. My Self Two is
my subconscious being. And, in my case, they are clearly having a problem
This is not uncommon, which is why the book has sold over 700,000
copies to knuckleheads like me. In a nutshell, it claims that Self Two, if
left alone to perform in its natural, unconscious state, would excel. But
Self One keeps mucking things up by telling Self Two that it is an
I can relate to that.
For instance, consider the service toss in tennis or the 10 yard
chip shot in golf. Now consider that I have played both sports for many,
many years and can qualify as relatively competent. Now consider that I am
absolutely pathetic at performing either of those simple tasks.
From reading the book, I now understand why. Letís first look at
the 10 foot chip shot. Hereís how Iíve handled it in the past:
Self Two: "I am the man. The ballís not moving, Iím
swinging slowly. Nothing could be more simple for such a phenomenal
athlete like me."
Self One: "Are you kidding? You donít have a
snowballís chance in hell of making clean contact. Remember the last
time you tried this shot? It was a joke. Everyone felt sorry for you. Youíre
Naturally, Iíd always agree with Self One, because that happened
to be MY BRAIN talking. Self Two had no brain and just sat back on its
lazy butt. It was never much of a contest.
After reading the book, though, I was determined to make the
change. I had to get my magnificent but unconscious Self Two into the
forefront. But since it had no brain, that was not going to be an easy
task. It required getting rid of Self One.
I felt a little guilty about that. Self One was getting trashed
throughout the book, but I got a little misty thinking about Self Oneís
finer points. Self One was not all bad. I doubt I could have made it
through college without Self Oneís help, and sometimes I even think
before I talk, which isnít a bad thing.
But if I was going to excel at tennis and golf, Self One had to go.
Thanks for the memories, fella, but it was time to move on.
I read up on all the tricks about how to get rid of Self One and
let Self Two take charge. The human body, if left alone, can do miraculous
things. I read it over and over, getting more and more excited about
eliminating my brain.
I decided to test it first on the golf course. Iím not a great
golfer, but I parred the first five holes. I was unconscious!!! I started
thinking about the Senior Tour. I finally had it licked. Self Two was on
fire, as always, and Self One was nowhere to be found. Then, on the sixth
hole, the real test. I had missed the green (bad bounce) and I had a 10
yard chip. That prompted the following conversation in my little head:
Self Two: "mmmmmm"
Self One: "Iím baaaaack!!!!"
Self Two: "Go away. Iím doing fine. Leave me alone."
Self One: "Five pars in a row? Youíre kidding,
Self Two: "Please go away. Pretty please?"
Self One: "Itís over, buddy. Reality check."
I swung that awkward little club and tried to hit that
miserable little ball. The club hit the ground about two inches behind the
ball, sending it about a foot and a half. Then I tried to clear my mind
again, swung, and hit it thin, sending the ball across the green into a
sand trap. My club followed.
Self One: "Youíre pathetic."
Self Two: "Yes, I am."
With golf a certifiable failure, I moved on to my service
toss in tennis. Self Two didnít really have a chance here, either. He
tried, but the laughter coming from Self One kept interrupting his
My brain can be such a jerk.