Live From The Inside

By Tom Abts






Did you see Nick Dunlap win the TOUR event played in Palm Desert. As you probably know – Dunlap is a 20-year-old at the U of Alabama. An amateur hadn’t won on TOUR since Phil Mickelson won the Tucson Open in 1991.

Hopefully you watched some of it… especially the last hole where he got it up-and-down to win by one shot.

Amateur Dunlap told the media, “Pressure is a privilege.”

How cool is that?

Here’s another great saying about the right kind of privilege… by Rudyard Kipling: “The individual has always struggled to keep from being overwhelmed by the tribe. To be your own man is hard business. If you try it, you will be lonely often, and sometimes frightened. But no price is too high for the privilege of owning yourself.”

Both quotes are about the privilege of personal responsibility. I’m going to make some leaps and try to connect the dots… hang in there with me.

While here in South Carolina. The other day we went to a local store – sort of like a Home Depot – but a one owner store. As we parked in the lot, I saw the owner pushing shopping carts from the parking lot to the store. Wasn’t surprised. Though the man is in his 80s and rich – he’s there out of love, not money. We’ve talked a lot. He was born poor and is a self-made man. And as one of his employees said to me, “The store is a gem, and the town is proud of it.”

I told her to enjoy it while she can, because when he goes, the party’s over. You can’t believe how great the vibe is. I’m talking a giant hardware type store – not a typically fun type of business. It’s “over-staffed” and the culture is warm and relaxed and friendly. And he’s there every day… talking to customers and staff and just making sure everything is good.

Could he turn it into a chain like Home Depot? No. He can only be at one store. A big corporation is going to run it exactly the opposite. It’s going to be run from the “outside.” Mechanically. There’s no place for Kipling’s individual.

Also down here is my favorite restaurant. I mean my FAVORITE restaurant. You can’t believe how good the vibe is. Yeah, I really like the food, but it’s about the experience. And I don’t mean some silly fake “experience.” I mean a genuinely fun, charming, relaxed atmosphere. They haven’t changed the menu or anything in years. It’s on a side street and oddly decorated and just really comfortable. And it’s full every night it’s open. In fact, the out-of-town members of a local elite golf club come over in their club van instead of going to the pretentious local restaurants. It’s run from the inside. If a restaurant chain ever takes it over… well… again, the party will be over.

The coach of the Kansas City Chiefs – Andy Reid – lets Patrick Mahomes play. That’s why they win. A lot of other coaches wouldn’t let Mahomes be Mahomes. (On a side note – Mahomes’ dad used to play here at DRGC when he pitched for the Twins – he was a nice, quiet, respectful guy.)

Obviously, life needs structure. Football teams need a game plan. Businesses need to be organized and structured. Your golf swing needs a basic structure. But you need to swing the golf club! Your structure won’t swing it for you.

I worry that our society is becoming too mechanical – too much from the outside.

Years ago, a Nobel prize-winning physiologist wrote, “Man must learn the necessary relations of the cosmic universe, of their fellow men and of their inner selves, and also of their tissues and their mind. Humanity’s attention must turn from the machines of the world of inanimate matter to the body and soul of man, to the organic and mental processes which have created the machines and the universe of Newton and Einstein.”

Wow – that’s pretty heavy-duty. But he wasn’t a knucklehead. He’s a smart guy who’s trying to warn us about becoming too mechanical. Nothing wrong with machines, but let’s use what’s in us to create a machine, not try to be a machine.

So, after all those quotes… here’s my quote, “It’s a privilege to be a person.”

I don’t want to be a machine.