Reflections

The 10-Foot Rule

By May 24, 2021 No Comments

            For those of you who know me or have read these posts for a while, you know that I am a certified golf fanatic. I love every part of the game: the challenge, the beauty, the competition, the camaraderie. Part of that love is studying the intricacies and tactics that professional golfers use to overcome the game’s mental challenge.

            Tiger Woods employs one of those effective tactics that I think have broad application beyond the game of golf. He calls it his “10-foot rule.” While Tiger is immensely talented, he is also known for having a fiery temper that has been captured in full color on television more than once. The fascinating thing about his outbursts is his 10-foot rule. He decided that he didn’t want to take his emotion and passion out of the game. He knew, though, that he needed to learn to manage those emotions to keep them from sabotaging his round. Hence, the 10-foot rule. Whenever he hits a bad shot, he allows himself 10 feet to express his anger and frustration. As soon as he walks outside of that 10-foot circle, he drops his anger and focuses on the next shot. That 10-foot circle is his trigger to decrease the negative and focus on the positive ahead of him.

            Think about all of the ways his 10-foot rule can apply in life. I know that my golf game would improve if I left my last duffed shot in that 10-foot circle. Other versions might be the 10-second rule or the 10-minute rule. Imagine applying it to all of the negative emotions that plague us daily.

            Perhaps we could:

  • Give our anger a 10-second life.
  • Toss our worry to the side after 10-minutes of indulging.
  • Leave the stress of work behind 10-feet after our car door closes at home or we walk away from our desk.
  • Give that toxic relationship that is so adept at pushing our buttons 10 minutes of energy, then shift attention elsewhere.
  • Allow that grief 10 minutes before we decide to put our next foot forward.

We can even utilize the 10-foot rule in reverse.

  • Leave that argument behind once the bedroom threshold is crossed.
  • Leave the smartphone outside the 10-foot circle surrounding the dining room table.
  • Bring positivity into the 10-foot circle around our desk.
  • Give God your full attention for 10 minutes after you pour that first cup of coffee.

The applications are endless. All it takes is creativity, patience, and practice. Creativity sees the myriad ways this applies to effect positive change. Patience keeps us moving through the inevitable failures we will encounter as we work to retrain our habits. And practice is the attitude we adopt as we move from 10% to 20% success, and eventually to a life-changing habit.

Begin small. What one negative emotion or thought-pattern are you trying to conquer. Consider how you might apply the 10-foot rule, and give it a try.

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