If you are of a certain age, you may remember the scene from the classic 1989 movie Dead Poets Society in which Robin Williams implores his young students to “Seize the day, boys. Make your lives extraordinary.”
In that scene, Williams (as Professor Keating) leans on the Latin phrase carpe diem – loosely translated as seize the day – from a poem written by a famous Roman poet named Horace in 23 BC.
The context of Horace’s poem in which the words carpe diem appear – we are not guaranteed tomorrow, life is fleetingly short – has two implications. First, if you are not intentional about creating exactly what you want in your life, before you know it, you will run out of time. Second, life is meant to be enjoyed – and if you forget to enjoy today you will have wasted a very precious gift.
In the past 30 years or so, carpe diem has been popularized as a motivation to: take on today, to seize it, to crush it, to make it the best day ever, to “win” the day, to dominate the day…etc.
All well and good. But it turns out that the sentiment of carpe diem is more accurately translated as “pluck the day.” In other words, to approach today as if it were a piece of ripe fruit on the tree of life ready to be plucked and enjoyed.
Why is this subtle shift in meaning important? If today is to be plucked, there is no need to chase it down, grapple with it, fight with it, seize it or overcome it. It is here already to enjoy…all you need to do is step up and pluck it. It also means that you live in a state of abundance. The tree of life is essentially right beside you – and full of ripe fruit.
Having a masterpiece day today need not be rare, or an exception. It is available to you right now. (But yes, you must act!)
As you begin the new year and think about all you want to accomplish in golf in 2022, consider the shift in thinking and actions required for you to pluck the day today – and what it could mean for how you approach your Single Plane Journey.
Maybe it would mean getting after the things that are important to your development journey in golf…like waking up a little early tomorrow to stretch and prepare your body for practice. Or eating a little more sensibly this week so that you have the stamina to play your best for a full 18 holes. Or sending that video into the GGA coaching staff so that they can help you in your transition from the top.
Perhaps it would also mean enjoying and appreciating more moments – big and small…like the smell of the grass at the course you are playing at, or the sound of a perfectly hit shot, the feel of a well-struck putt, or the satisfaction of keeping your head down on that slippery 8-footer on the 18th.
And maybe it would mean taking the focus off yourself and your own needs and turning it towards others… inspiring, influencing, serving, or make a difference in the lives of the people around you.
Perhaps it would mean doing one thing each day this year that gets you closer to your goals, makes you 1% better, or improves the life of another.
The day is yours for the taking. Get after it, yes – but savor it as well. No need to seize it or wrestle it to the floor. Just pluck it. Just step up and do the things that get you closer to what you want to create in the game you love and the life you lead.
Here’s to an extraordinary 2022. Carpe Diem!