I’ve a book in the office by Dr Bob Rotella called “Golf is Not a Game of Perfect”. It’s a great read whether you’re a golfer or not, because its central premise – that you don’t need to be brilliant to succeed – is a liberating message. Life isn’t a game of perfect either, and, paradoxically, the sooner you accept that the easier life gets.
Apropos absolutely nothing, but I was listening to the Labour leader Keir Starmer this morning talking about living in “the best” country in planet with “world beating” public services (are ye, aye)?
Firstly, the UK isn’t a country. It is four countries.
Secondly, my hunch is that this hyperbolic language seriously misjudges the mood. Every time I hear guys like Hancock boasting about “world class” vaccines and testing apps, they just lose all credibility. It’s a ridiculous way to speak. I’d have so much more respect for them if they said, “look guys, it won’t be perfect – nothing is – but it’ll get the job done until something better comes along. Bear with me here”.
One of the (sometimes deliberate) misconceptions of the movement in Scotland is that we somehow see ourselves as special, exceptional. Here’s the thing. We really don’t. We genuinely just want to be granted the opportunity to be ordinary and imperfect, just like everybody else. The chance to screw things up and take ownership for the bouroch. To fail, and then, as Dr Rotella says, try to fail a little better the next time.
One of Bob’s other great maxims is that there is no such thing as playing above your abilities: you’re just catching a glimpse of your true potential. Which, I think, has been true for Scotland in its mature handling of this crisis. We really are living in the early days of a better nation.
Never mind world class. In these most difficult of days, indeed on any day, I’d happily settle for living in a normal, self-governing, bang average Scotland. An increasing number of us would settle for that, too. Because in this life, and golfers will recognise the term, there are no mulligans. You give it your best and accept the outcome, come what may.
Stay safe out there good people. I’ll meet you further on up the road.