Par for the Course.

“We grade the qualities of our complete character against those standards set for a person who is extremely skilled in a specific field.”

We all have expectations. For ourselves, the people around us, the world at large. We all have expectations.

We wait for their arrival, the thoughts and ideas we foresee coming to fruition. The things that, by our calculations, we’re sure are going to become reality. They are the events and scenarios that, under normal circumstances, we presume will be most likely to materialize if front of our eyes.

Now, if you’re sitting there thinking, “But TeeJayye, I don’t have any expectations,” I’d be hard-pressed to believe you.

Everyone has expectations. Everyone. Even when we claim we don’t. Especially when we claim we don’t.

It’s easiest to find them when we are worried. A worry is nothing more than an expectation of a bad outcome.

On the contrary, we’ve all felt that sense of excitement and giddiness when we expect a good outcome.

No matter what, all humans have expectations.

It’s these expectations that give us a sense of normality. It’s what allows us to predict the things that are going to happen in our lives. It’s what we would refer to as being “par for the course.”

According to the Oxford English Dictionary, par is a derivative of Latin, meaning equal. In golf, ‘par’ is the term used for the expected number of strokes it will take a golfer to complete the hole. Therefore, ‘par for the course’ is the expected number of strokes a golfer will take to complete the entire course.

Essentially, par is what is expected. It’s the standard set for a golfer to judge themselves on the outcome of their trip around the golf course. It’s that which is normal, commonplace, and anticipated.

I left out an important detail, however. 

Par is not just a number set for any golfer. Par is an expectation set for an expert golfer.

Key word, expert.

Par is a score expected of someone who is extremely proficient in the game of golf, and yet, it’s the standard all golfers judge themselves against, regardless of their skill level.

Golfers are not the only ones though. We all judge ourselves against what is expected, against what society at large considers normal, regardless of our ability to meet those expectations.

Whether it be our looks, finances, or even our mindset, we judge our entire being upon those ideals set for us by someone else’s opinion of what an expert should look like.

We grade the qualities of our complete character against those standards set for a person who is extremely skilled in a specific field.

And in the end, when we don’t quite meet those expectations, we find ourselves feeling like we aren’t quite good enough. 

We measure ourselves against the abilities of another, even though we’re all infinitely unique.

We set the bar so high that, to our minds, it seems impossible to ever reach that expectation. We stack the deck against ourselves and most quit before ever attaining the goals they’ve set for themselves.

It’s not always a bad thing, setting the bar that high. It gives you something to strive for, a destination to arrive at, but it can defeat you before you’ve even left the ground.

So maybe we should give ourselves a better chance by not judging ourselves based on the expectations of an expert, because we’re simply not all the same.

Just because you’re not scratch golfer doesn’t mean you shouldn’t pick up a club.

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