Michael's Monthly Column "Throwing My Loop"

Throwing My Loop…    

By:  Michael Johnson  


Keep Throwing Your Loop!

  Ben Hogan said, “Almost everyone has the ability to be a better player. The problem is they just don't know how.” Meaning if we can find someone to teach us – and we would listen - we could improve a great deal. And finding someone to teach us can be a challenge. Good help is hard to find.
   There is certainly no shortage of experts. There are gurus, private lessons, clinics, and of course, most of our friends think they know exactly what we should do to raise our level of performance. Problem is those avenues rarely change us significantly for the better. There is nothing wrong with going to clinics or taking a private lesson. Of course they can be helpful, but to really change your ways, to see, feel, and know you are doing better? How do we do that?

1. Be prepared to work! At one time in my life, I believed that people at the top of any profession spent most of their time wearing shades while floating on a rubber raft in the pool - with one of those little umbrella drinks at their side. I couldn't have been more wrong! People at the top work more than others. That's how they reached the top, and everyone agrees...that's how they stay there. Let's say a person is lucky enough to find a true “teacher.” If we are not prepared to put in the required time and effort, no matter how great the teacher, improvement will not come.
2. Learn to listen! Here is a scene I've witnessed countless times. The student asks the master a question and the master gives an answer. Then the student says something like, “Oh, I've already tried that. I can't do it that way.” Or, “Yes, I know what you mean, but that doesn't work for me.” The master then says, “Fine. Do it your way,” and walks away. The student is always surprised that the master seems annoyed. On each of these occasions, the student would then turn to me and say, “Well, I made him mad. Why? I don't understand why he's irritated with me.” Here's the reason he's mad. When you ask a master (who can do the thing better than you) a question, and then tell him his answer won't work, the master knows you are not ready to learn. Masters have a hard time dealing with fools. Here's a line taught to me long ago...
“To learn to do a thing...
Ask a master.
Listen to the master. Don't talk. Listen.
Do what the master says for an extended period of time.
And someday you might be a master, too.
3. Find a Master. This can be a challenge – but it can be done. (I can only help you a little as it took me 50 years to find three.) Here are some things to look for in a true teacher...

* They are not “experts.” They are “seekers.”
* True teachers have no need to impress others with their accomplishments.
* True teachers like us.
* They have faith in us – more than we do in ourselves. They know we will do well.
* We will have long term relationships with them.
* Be a good student. True teachers can only help good students.

   So, if we spend time and effort to find a true teacher, and we listen, and we do the work required, our opportunity to improve increases dramatically. These tasks are not easy. (Indeed, sometimes they cause trying times for the soul.) But if we don't lose heart, on occasion we find the most surprising thing – and that is that the Spirit did not short-change us after all. The ability to achieve our heart's desire was within all the time. We just had to work to make it come out.
   Reminds me of what my daddy and uncles always said when I missed a steer.
   “What did I do wrong?” I would ask. And no matter if I threw it too high, or on the ground, or waved it off the steer's horns, their answer was always the same...
   “The reason you missed son,” they would say...
“is because you haven't thrown your loop enough.”

-- Michael Johnson      


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