that Plays on Automatic
Carey Mumford ©2001
Talk about mental formats that are misused! Try this one - automatic. We hear it used in golf like potato chips. (You can't eat just one). It is so overworked and misunderstood that it has become one of several entrances to the game's various garden paths. It is an example of unfinished business in thinking.
Don't go away. There are vital issues here. The mind is never still fact. When you consciously think you are not thinking, you have overlooked 97% (estimated) of the total, comprehensive thinking process which is non conscious, or unconscious or subconscious (take your choice of the descriptors).
Those who have to think about what they are doing while they do it cannot possibly be on automatic. But many continue to be deceived concerning this issue. It's like trying to swim in a pool with no water. Thinking about the action in progress leads nowhere except to the manual application of skills. Under those circumstances, automatic can't be activated.
Automatic is marked by thinking that is NOT related to what is being done while doing it. (Not my idle opinion but a principle as strong as Newton's law of gravity).
It is with some salutary regret that I report there is nothing any of us can do about that configuration other than make a conscious choice to accept it and a decision to learn how to manage it ahead of the occasions on which we need it.
If you want to be on automatic, better learn the rules and how to follow them to success. Cognitive guesswork or will power won't cut it.
Be assured your mind is always working, and if you don't make a choice, the unconscious will do it for you and default to whatever IT chooses, on its own terms. Your ONLY alternative is to follow the rules to cut into that default. That is done by pre-determination (pre-shot planning) of what you wish to do, followed by setting up a temporary blocking measure (clear key) to reroute default thinking in the non conscious areas by using your own conscious thought process as a manager. We may think we do that by using swing keys. However, not only do swing keys prevent going on automatic, they also open the door that admits the problem of mind and the body being and operating on two entirely different time schedules. The mind works much faster than the body. That forces another human fact into play. When the body is asked to go with the speed of the mind, it will do one of two things. It will try to speed up, (catch up), or it will balk in resistance. Either of those has much more chance of producing an errant action than anything that is workable.
So the mind is either your powerful ally or your powerful enemy. You must choose.
Those are the realities that brought clear keys into being. The tools are available. It is not necessary to be at the mercy of this game. In postscript, be aware that being on automatic and being in the zone are essentially the same. You cannot be in the zone without automatic and if you are in the zone you have reached automatic. Either way you speak of it, it is essential to learning and playing this game on your own terms and not by default. Organized and managed is higher-level activity than default.
Be sure you are aware that any myths that are set forth about automatic may well be all wrapped up in pretext. As we hear it most often from others, it is not a matter of "maybe a myth," but, in fact, what actually happens .