I took my nine year old son to the driving range early this morning. He was excited to try out his new clubs. He’s been golfing for a few years now and had outgrown his first set. His expectation was that these shiny, red clubs would be a breeze to use and he was eager to improve his game.
Some of his shots were solid, while others were way off. Overall, he was far more inconsistent, and his frustration was getting the best of him. “I hate golf and I want to quit,” he declared.
We finished practice quietly and headed back to the car. “I hate it sometimes and feel like quitting, too,” I shared with him. “So why don’t you?” he asked.
“Because feelings aren’t facts,” I replied.
This is a tough discernment to make for most adults, so for kids, it’s presents a hefty challenge.
We expect that things will get easier and better over time, but the path to mastery of anything is not a linear one. Some days we see the results of our hard work, and others are filled with setbacks that can bruise the ego and leave us feeling badly about our situations.
The feelings may be very real at the moment, but what you do with them is the game changer. Do you ruminate on your misfortunes? Or do you ride out the storm, reflect, and let it go?
The fact of the matter is this: if you never feel like quitting, you aren’t challenging yourself. If you’re not challenging yourself, then you aren’t growing.
If you do decide to quit–whether it be your hobby, your job, your personal growth goals, your relationship–know that you are doing it for reasons other than, “It’s not easy.” Because the feelings will pass, but regret–a negative cognitive/emotional state–will linger much longer and is far harder to overcome.