Inspiration Sometimes Comes From Dumb Places, and That’s OK.

Here's a photo of me golfing in October in Portugal

I’m working on my annual “Things I Believe” blog post, and showed Sally the outline the other day. She noticed one bullet point, in which I wrote:

The hardest part about personal growth isn’t the setbacks — it’s the plateaus. Think back to when you first started. You’re a beginner, so improvement is rapid. Every day, every week, every month, you get a little better. It’s exciting! And then: You feel like you hit a wall. Suddenly, you’re not making progress at the same rate. Treading water feels like a step backwards. You get frustrated. You question things. Then you start again, and try to break through. If you’re lucky, you do! You start improving again. But with time, it happens again: Another plateau, and another chance to find yourself and break through.

And she looked at me and said: That’s about your golf game, isn’t it?

I looked down at the ground, and whispered: Yeah, it is.

But the thing is: Inspiration can come from anywhere! Do I wish I’d come up with that thought while walking through the halls of the Met, reading about some obscure painter who’d overcome countless obstacles to finally deliver a masterpiece? Of course! That’s a much, much better story than the truth, which is that I thought of it while double-bogeying on a public golf course in Queens.

But who cares? Sometimes, inspiration strikes while reading a great novel, and sometimes while you’re taking a few minutes to stare out in quiet contemplation at the ocean, and sometimes when you shank a 7-iron into the woods. Wherever it strikes, be grateful it did.


That’s a photo of me standing over the the final hole at Penha Longa, a golf course in Portugal.