Have you ever known someone who was good at everything? No matter what they did, they could do it well. It’s like they received a special blessing at birth and live a very charmed life. I used to have a friend like that. He was something special. I would feel better about almost everything when I hung out with him. It was like his sense of ease and grace was contagious. In my fifty years on this earth, I have only known one person like that. At the time, I didn’t realize how rare and special he was.
For most of us the tendency for struggle has been programmed into our psyche. I learned how to struggle from my parents. I am the middle of five children. Growing up, my father was a career soldier. He served 28 years in the army and retired as a Master Sargent. So we moved every couple years to some new place, rarely developed any kind of lasting friendships, and never had enough money for anything but the essentials. We rarely went without what was needed, but there was never a time when money wasn’t tight and a topic of loud discussions.
There is something to be said for growing up this way. I grew up willing to work hard for whatever I got and knew I would have to fight to get ahead in the world. When life got hard, I would put my head down and fight my way through it. Living this way builds lots of character and resiliency in a person. But it also leaves you somewhat jaded with a very peculiar outlook on life.
Now, it was not my parents’ intention to teach me the fine art of struggle. They were just living their lives and doing what their parents did before them. My mother was one of seven children in a small rural town in Ohio. Her grandparents were farmers and everyone worked the farm as soon as they were able to contribute. My father was the 14th of 18 children. His parents were immigrants from Italy. You can probably imagine the struggles of feeding, clothing and raising 18 children.
Now, I can’t say that I knew either set of grandparents very well. But I doubt that their intention was to teach their children and future generations how to struggle. In fact, my father’s parents came to America to offer their children a better life, like so many of our grandparents did.
I am offering up this brief look into my past to help make a point. Most of us have learned to struggle by watching those that raised us. It wasn’t their intention; they were just trying to survive. If you are reading this, you know that life is hard and will give you all the struggles that you can handle. For many of us, the ability to struggle through and overcome has become a badge of honor. Hey look at me, I survived!
Like the fine art of struggling, living with a sense of ease and grace is a skill that can be taught and learned over time. Whether the lessons come in a classroom, the weight room or a ball field as we learn to thrive in one arena we can transfer that ability to the rest of our lives.
The core idea behind the Training Tiger Woods project is teaching people how to thrive. How to use centering, balance and breath to walk the world with a sense of ease and grace, while unlocking the untapped potential that resides inside each of us.