Shoshin is a concept in Zen Buddhism meaning "beginner's mind". It refers to having an attitude of openness, eagerness, and lack of preconceptions when studying a subject - even when studying at an advanced level - just as a beginner in that subject would. (Wikipedia) This is a concept that I always try to keep in mind. It's difficult because the ego really gets off on being an "expert". It's fun to set a goal, work hard to accomplish it, and bask in the glory of making it to the top of the mou
A few posts back we talked about words that should be banished from your lexicon (Speak No Evil). The first word on the list was can't. Its one of those words that we use and hear so often that it becomes commonplace. But have you ever really stopped to think that it really doesn't stand up to scrutiny? Think about all of the things in greenkeeping that people have told us we can't do: roll constantly, water for an hour at a time, grow bentgrass without poa, and this list goes on and on.
I have been tossing this idea around for a spell. What are the common demons we all fight from time to time? We have covered a couple of them already; dealing with the unruly golfer, and the burn out syndrome, but I want to get more specific and clarify things a bit. The demons Ill be speaking of are the ones that bind us together, and tear us apart.
I am in the throes of battling one as we speak. It is a subtle bugger that can sneak up on you over time. It adds up slowly, kind of like weigh
This blogging thing just keeps getting better. The more I write, the more I read and the more I stumble upon your stories. It might get to the point soon where I simply post your writing; it's that good.
The Maestro sent me a link to a blog post by Adam Garr, superintendent at Plum Hollow Country Club in Southfield, Michigan. Adam was plugging away like the rest of us, but about a year ago he had an epiphany that changed how he not only does his job, but how he lives his life.
This week I watched with a combination of fascination and horror as our own Michael Stachowicz continued to navigate the minefield of the post private club blues. If you have not read any of Michael's writing, you should. It's thoughtful, well written and (unfortunately for some) brutally honest. It is basically a post apocalyptic account of working within the political confines of a very stereotypical private golf club in America.
His latest post on a blog he created to promote solidarity w
There are times in your life when for one reason or another you are able to step outside the normal craziness and see things from a different angle. You know the times I'm speaking of you're out on the course first thing in the morning, everything is piercingly quiet, and the universe just feels right. Life becomes clearer and your priorities suddenly come into sharper focus. Last weekend was one of those times for me.
It started last Thursday, when we received the tragic news that my brothe
There was a Ted Talk recently by Amanda Palmer, a musician who has made her way by not being afraid to ask for help. By depending on her fans for a place to crash and eat while on tour, she developed a very loyal following. She gives her tunes away for free, asking only for a little help along the way to offset the costs of production. Her talk tells of the intimate connection that is developed between people when one is not afraid to ask, and the other is not afraid to answer.
Okay, now that you have a few more holes in your vocabulary because of last weeks post (Speak No Evil), it's time we start to talk about filling the voids. It doesn't take a whole lot of effort... just choose one word to focus on and use it a little more often.
As with many things, the more you focus on something, the more things like it start to show up in your life.
Speech is the mirror of the soul; as a man speaks, so he is." Publilius Syrus
Words, phrases and actions can work
The words we use every day have a direct impact on how we think about things, and consequently our general outlook on life. Consider the following quote:
Your beliefs become your thoughts, Your thoughts become your words, Your words become your actions, Your actions become your habits, Your habits become your values, Your values become your destiny.
- Mahatma Gandhi
Our language also directly affects others, in both good and bad ways. Words can be helpful and encouraging, but sometime
Our lives are governed by stories. We have our personal ones, our family lore, the stories of our nations, and the stories of the world as a whole. These tales can tell us much about who we are as individuals, and if we can listen carefully we can use the narrative to create change for the better.
Unfortunately the people of the United States and the world are confronted with yet another tragic story, one which is all too familiar and laced with unimaginable pain and suffering. These events
As I write this post I am but a few scant hours away from getting three wisdom teeth yanked. I have had a virtually nonexistent relationship with my dentist over the past number of years, so it was not a great shock to learn that three of my chompers were to be banished from my mouth forever.
While I might lament my lost teeth, that is not the reason for telling you about them. I have found the behind the scenes story this week to be much more interesting. Its the story that the mind plays in
One of the main reasons I have enjoyed TurfNet so much over the years has been Randy Wilson. From the first time I read his musings to the initial video from the mythical 'Rockbottum Country Club', his wisdom and wit have been spot on. His ability to cut through the crap with humor is only superseded by his honesty about what it has meant for him to live the life of a greenkeeper. His recent post regarding the OSV (Off-Season Vacation) may be one of his best yet. It may not be the funniest or
We have all been there; upside down in a hole, trying to convince two pieces of pipe that they really were once connected. Or maybe you are in the garage trying to put together your latest purchase with instructions in some obscure Scandinavian language. The harder you try, the worse things become, until your frustration boils over. By this point the screw head is stripped or the valve is stuck harder than when you started, and you are using expletives unfit for boot camp.
I got a message from an old friend this week. I have not seen him much in the past twenty years even though we were best friends back in the day. He lives on the other side of the country now, but tells me he is coming home for a visit next weekend. I was thrilled with the news and it got me thinking about the power of friendships and the many great bonds that I have forged since becoming a greenkeeper.
Our industry is relatively unique in this regard. I have yet to work another job which ha
"Whenever you find yourself on the side of the majority, it is time to pause and reflect." Mark Twain
Stepping outside the norm and taking real chances in life is tough. It takes profound courage to evaluate the status quo, decide on a completely new course of action and then take the leap.
From time to time towing the line is the wisest action... but sometimes you just have to walk to the edge of the cliff and jump.
Our society is set up totally against this notion. All of
"Power resides where men believe it resides. No more and no less. It is a trick, no more than a shadow on the wall," George R.R. Martin, A Clash of Kings
I could not get this quote out of my head last week while attending our local association's conference and trade show. It was a great show, but it struck me that while we may believe that the power to educate in our industry lies within the USGA, the suppliers, the salesmen, the agronomists or the university professors... it lies in our h
Have you ever noticed that once something catches your attention, similar things start popping up everywhere? When you buy a new car you start to see that model everywhere, or when your wife is pregnant, it seems as though every second woman you see is pregnant. There is a name for this phenomenon. Psychologists call it the Baader-Meinhoff Phenomenon, and as Alan Bellows explains, it was exactly what happened to me following my last blog post.
"Anytime the phrase 'That's so weird, I just hear
Strolling through the turf blogs can reveal a ton of useful information. Most of it is turf related, but the odd time a useful little life lesson falls from the sky. You know one of these tidbits strikes a chord when you happen to come across the same link twice.
This week both Joe Wachter and Chris Tritabaugh posted a link to a blog posting from marketing guru Seth Godin (here it is: http://sethgodin.typ...t-the-joke.html) The post dealt with the impossibility of pleasing everyone simultan
There once was a man hanging perilously from the edge of a cliff. Just above him paced a tiger, waiting to pounce if he climbed back up.
The man screamed, "Is there anyone out there that can help me?"
A calm voice replied, "How can I help?"
Startled, the man answered, "God, is that you?"
"Yes," God said.
"Can you help me out of this bind? I will do anything that you ask of me!"
God replied, "All you need to do is let go, all will be well."
The man thought for a moment
All of humanity's problems stem from man's inability to sit quietly in a room alone." — Blaise Pascal
While reflecting on last weeks post, 'The Art of the Pause', it struck me that for most of us, deciding to sit still would be the easy part. What happens next becomes the real challenge. Try it right now. Just close your eyes and sit still for about a minute. I'll wait...
Uh, I'm somewhere where I don't know where I am." — Homer Simpson
How long did you last before your mind start
How often do you find yourself running around like the proverbial headless chicken and really not accomplishing much? We all have those days now and again, but what I am talking about here is when lack of focus interferes with our ability to perform our duties.
Our jobs are stressful at times, no doubt, but a full plate shouldn't prevent us from pausing occasionally to clear our thoughts. We accomplish much more with a measure of clarity than with muddled thinking. So, if you find yourself f
In today's marketplace everyone is looking for an edge... the one thing that will not only get them ahead, but save money while doing it. We are being asked to do more with less while constantly producing better conditions.
As revenues and budgets continue to shrink, a return to simple, more straightforward maintenance is inevitable.
What if a salesman came to your office and offered you a simple program that would allow you to
Better utilize the resources your turf already has on ha
New year, new digs. A time for grabbing life by the horns and doing something that you've never done before. How about expanding the mind, breaking down thought barriers... that is what this blog is going to be all about. It will serve as a utility cart full of ideas, and not necessarily all new. Maybe some are the same ones you used to think about when you were a young lad or lassie walk mowing greens or hand watering for what seemed like forever.
You know what I mean. We have all had these