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Path, Woods, Autumn, Footpath, Forest, Trees, Fall

Moss Jackson, PhD

Psychologist and Success Coach

In a previous post, I wrote about the “Authentic Swing,” a golfer’s natural swing that is unique for every golfer. In the movie, “The Legend of Bagger Vance, we trace the early promise, tragic fall and resurrection of a young golfer who has lost his authentic swing but is given a last chance to reconnect to his long lost talent. 


While most of us are not expert golfers and not in search of the perfect golf swing, we are probably looking for a powerful and authentic way of living our lives. Some of us, the Life Navigators, have it and experience a sense of calm and deep satisfaction as we pursue and experience our personal dreams. Others of us, the Life Victims, flounder along, impervious to the notion of an authentic self, reacting to one crisis after another, victims of our circumstances. And last are the Life Survivors, people who just lost something special along the way. Although in pain, they are on a search for finding the right path, a way of living that feels personally relevant and meaningful, the path of the “Authentic Swing.”


In future posts and video clips, I will talk further about how you can find your authentic self and step onto the path of the Navigator, a way of living that offers challenge, creativity, following your dream and profound learning along the way. The authentic path is a creative path, unique to each person walking it and not a duplicate of someone else’s unique path. While you can learn from others, the Navigator does not copy or mimic anyone else’s creative path but instead discovers, practices and learns on his own unique pathway. 

Like any powerful adventure, there are roadblocks and obstacles along the way. Here are some that may be stopping you from finding your authentic path through life:


Steve Jobs was interviewed shortly before he died. He reflected on the fame and riches he had accumulated in his life and his profound regret that he seldom experienced real love and connection with others. He was obsessed with success and proving he could win, even if it killed him. President Trump is similar to Steve Jobs in his obsession to win at any cost, regardless of the pain and damage it creates for others. I wonder what his thoughts might be moments before his eventual death about how he lived his life.


This is the obstacle of perfectionism, the quest of never making a mistake. Navigators make mistakes all the time. They do not lament or feel regret, they learn from them. I think it was Winston Churchill who wrote that the key in life was to move from one mistake to another as quickly as possible, not make the same mistakes and learn something along the way. Perfectionism is a harrowing path, fraught with chronic fear, shame and wasted energy. Perfectionists never get to experience the joy of fucking things up and rebounding back stronger than before.


This is probably the biggest obstacle to navigating a great life. If you are trapped in this mindset, there is little joy because you are either comparing yourself to others or beating yourself up because you did not live up to your own standards. No matter your successes, you are never quite good enough to crack the code. You keep sliding back down the hill like the Greek victim Sisyphus trying unsuccessfully to push a boulder to the top of a steep hill. Your efforts are never quite good enough. You keep forgetting that a happy life is graded on a simple Pass/Fail and not a grade of A-F score. You pass if you are living life fully, taking the good with the bad and not beating yourself or others up when things do not go your way.


If you are living the Navigator’s Way, you will inevitably get hurt, disappointed or bruised. You need grit to move along your authentic path. Since it is your created path, there is no clear formula to protect you from making mistakes, failing and experiencing disapproval. It goes with the territory. The Navigator’s path requires courage and perseverance. It is not for the faint hearted! The good news is that there are other Navigators to support you and to encourage you along the way. Seek them out rather than focusing on the advice of the victims and complainers you come across on your path.


Navigators do not wait too long to take action. They are Life Entrepreneurs who learn along the way. They are your innovators and early adopters. They place their bets before all the information has been collected. They catch the wave of change and action early, long before they become susceptible to perfectionism, figuring it all out or worrying about disapproval from others. They just push their rock up another hill. 


Your thoughts never stop. They are like a chorus of constant talkers mostly concerned how things stink and will not turn out well. Our brains are wired for negativity. “Watch out, Be Careful, You Could Fail, You Might Look Foolish, What if others do not approve?” etc. Probably eighty percent of your thoughts are negative. Do not give them much regard: notice them, let them go and create more empowering thoughts to keep you on the Navigator’s path. 

None of us come into life hoping to experience misery and suffering. We all want love, success and discovery in one way or another. Watch out for your roadblocks and obstacles as you travel through life. Live with curiosity, hopefulness, appreciation and gratitude. Waste some time, hang out with those you love, make some friends, make mistakes and learn and stop taking things too seriously. Your authentic swing is yours for the taking. Just go out and take some shots. 

I hope to see you soon on the Navigator’s Path.

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