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Goal Setting & The Daffodil Principle

A lot of the golfers that I coach seem to have trouble reaching the goals that they have set themselves. Whether that is getting on the main tour or dropping their handicap, all to often these goals remain unaccomplished. Usually, after a while, golfers will stop working towards their goals by remaining process driven and focus simply on technique and results. This short term thinking usually does nothing but increase anxiety, with the golfer constantly judging themselves by their scores and with very little awareness of the mental processes they employ.

With all the different golf apps out there, golfers now have a much better chance of being specific about areas of their game that need to improve, physically at least.

It is mentally that the biggest change often needs to occur. Although a change in mentality can happen quickly, the golfer must constantly monitor and learn better ways of approaching and playing the game. This is nothing short of a lifetime goal. If a golfer commits to exploring and finding the best way for them to play the Inner Game of Golf, then enjoyment, learning and performance will follow.

Unfortunately golfers tend to want quick fixes and tips. With this attitude, the golfer already has an unbalanced mind and is doomed to fail.

Be in it for the long haul and the results can be amazing.


Here is a story called The Daffodil Principle.

One weekend I took the long drive to visit my daughter and grandchildren. After I arrived my daughter Carolyn asked me to take her to the garage to retrieve her car which had been repaired. We set off in my car and she gave me directions but before long I realised that we were heading out of town and not into it. ” Where are you taking us Carolyn” said the father. “This isn’t the way to the garage”.

“It’s all right, Dad. I promise you will never forgive yourself if you miss this experience.” After about twenty minutes, we turned onto a small gravel road and I saw a small church. On the far side of the church, I saw a hand-lettered sign “Daffodil Garden”.

We got out of the car and each took a child’s hand, and I followed Carolyn down the path. Then we turned a corner of the path, and I looked up and gasped. Before me lay the most glorious sight. It looked as though someone had taken a great vat of gold and poured it down over the mountain peak and slopes. The flowers were planted in majestic, swirling patterns, great ribbons and swaths of deep orange, white, lemon- yellow, salmon-pink, saffron, and butter-yellow. Each different-colored variety was planted as a group so that it swirled and flowed like its own river with its own unique hue. Five acres of flowers.

“But who has done this?” I asked Carolyn. “It’s just one woman,” Carolyn answered. “She lives on the property. That’s her home.” Carolyn pointed to a well-kept A-frame house that looked small and modest in the midst of all that glory. We walked up to the house.

On the patio we saw a poster: “Answers to the Questions I Know You Are Asking” was the headline. The first answer was a simple one: “50,000 bulbs,” it read. The second answer was, “One at a time, by one woman. “Two hands, two feet, and very little brain.” The third answer was, “Began in 1958.” There it was. The Daffodil Principle.

For me that moment was a life-changing experience. I thought of this woman whom I had never met, who, more than thirty-five years before, had begun-one bulb at a time-to bring her vision of beauty and joy to an obscure mountaintop. Still, just planting one bulb at a time, year after year, had changed the world. This unknown woman had forever changed the world in which she lived. She had created something of ineffable magnificence, beauty, and inspiration. The principle her daffodil garden taught is one of the greatest principles of celebration: learning to move toward our goals and desires one step at a time often just one baby-step at a time learning to love the doing learning to use the accumulation of time. When we multiply tiny pieces of time with small increments of daily effort, we too will find we can accomplish magnificent things. We can change the world.

“It makes me sad in a way,” I admitted to Carolyn. “What might I have accomplished if I had thought of a wonderful goal thirty-five years ago and had worked away at it one bulb at a time through all those years. Just think what I might have been able to achieve!”

My daughter summed up the message of the day in her direct way. “Start now,” she said.

~Jaroldeen Asplund Edwards ~


Just think what you could achieve with a daily practice, done regularly over time.

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