Friday, March 9, 2012
Learning SFT in Utopia
This past weekend we watched the movie 7 Days in Utopia . We are not golfers so, I had put off seeing it thinking it just a golf movie. As I watched the story unfold, I saw several life principles at work. One primary one was for the young lead character to learn life was more than golf. The movie presents principles that can be transferred into any person’s career life and personal life balance.
The opening of the movie has Luke Chisholm exploding in anger over a disintegrating performance in a golf game. As he is recklessly driving due to his emotions he crashes through a rancher’s fence. The elderly rancher, John, comes to his rescue and requests he stay with him for 7 days to get his golf game back. There are many dynamics in the story. Does Luke really want to play golf? Or was that his dad’s dream for him? There is shown in flash backs the tensions between he and his father, who was his over demanding coach and caddy. This made me wonder if golf was really Luke’s thing or his dad’s.
Instead of just playing golf John, who was a former golfer himself, has Luke do other things that relate to golf but initially seem very strange. Just one for an example, he has him study a golf shot in a wooded area and the instead of just hitting the ball has him paint the view of hitting the ball first. So the ideas tap into creativity and that particular example was encouraging a deep level of visualizing before trying the difficult shot. John is trying to get Luke to explore his passion level for golf and to allow him to see God has a purpose for his life greater than golf. Life is more than just a job or career we need to discover our greater purpose.
I was impressed by the concept of SFT that comes up in the movie early as John is speaking about Luke’s putting. He emphasized to not think but to See, Feel, and Trust. There is a truth in that, that we in our work have to move beyond over thinking to See, which means to visualize the big picture of what you are doing, Then Feel is having confidence in the visualization process to move forward. Finally to trust is to step out and act on that confidence to complete what you are trying to do. As I watched that work out in the film; the SFT concept reminded me of Dr. Cziksentmihalyi’s Flow concept of having a sense of mastery and trust in your competence so that you are not over thinking but you are one with your work that you are doing.
The movie goes deeper into the SFT concept looking at it in a spiritual level. John tells Luke near the end of the movie to make Luke understand that he needs to find a greater purpose in life than golf. How does Luke want to be remembered after his life is over? Here John explains that he needs to See God’s face, Feel God’s presence and Trust God’s love – SFT. Looking at life from a God centered perspective it was no accident that Luke turned towards Utopia. Granted, he could have taken the other turn and gone to another town and not experienced the 7 days in Utopia. But God had a purpose for Luke to be there. In those 7 days, he had the opportunity to understand that relationships are important, reflect on his passion and conviction level for golf and reach a point of feeling the presence of God. As spiritual beings, we need to first know who God is by seeing His face and feeling His presence. Then we can learn to trust in His love and know as is stated in Jeremiah 29:11 “For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the LORD, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future.” God has good plans for us even after a terrible game or problem occurs. That is a truth and promise we can hold onto in difficult and good times.
At this point in the movie the older ex golf pro gives Luke a box. In it is a Bible, a note from John, a pencil and two pieces of paper. With the papers Luke is told to draw up two lists. One is a list of all the lies he has listened to about himself. For Luke lies such as his self worth lies in how well he does with a little white golf ball. Lies that he told himself such as his father only cared about him if he did well in golf. We each over our lifetime can fill our minds with lies about ourselves which can spiral us down in to subpar just ok existing instead of the abundant life we were created for. That list of lies he was to write was to be buried in the box as a symbol of being rid of the lies. The other sheet of paper Luke was to write down truths about himself that he was to keep as a remembrance to give him strength in his life going forward. What are truths we can write and hold onto? Truths such as God loves us, and has a greater purpose for our lives. That we each have talents, that can be used to help improve the lives of those around us. We need to focus on the truths and not the lies.
If you have not seen this movie I highly recommend it. Enjoy the story and acting. Then also think through your life as to how the SFT concept relates to your life. Think through the purpose God has for you in your living more than ok on your life journey.
Reflection: Take some time to write up a list of lies that you have are presently are telling yourself. How are these lies negatively effecting you life? Destroy the list of lies. Then also write down a list of truths about yourself. Post this truth list somewhere you can regularly see it. Also take some time to reflect on your bigger purpose in life.