What Does a Goldfish and Golf Have in Common?

Goldfish Can Be Kept in Bowls

“People have long kept goldfish in small bowl-like containers, and while goldfish are hardy fish capable of surviving in a range of conditions, a bowl is really an ill-suited home for them—it lacks proper filtration, aeration, water volume for the dilution of waste, space to grow, and a home for ammonia- and nitrite-converting bacteria (for biofiltration). Large aquariums are a definite requirement for their long-term care and survival, as goldfish can grow quite large, depending on the breed. The common goldfish, so popular on fairgrounds, are among the largest, and they are capable of reaching over 18 inches and 10 pounds. Even the smallest breeds can reach between 4 and 7 inches, making them more suitable for a 20-gallon or larger aquarium than a bowl. Due to the goldfishes’ large size, proper filtration and water changes are a must. For larger goldfish, like the common or comet goldfish, an outdoor pond is really the best option unless you are willing to provide them with an aquarium in the range of 55 gallons or more, depending on the number of fish being kept.” Source www.tfhmagazine.com/details/articles/goldfish-myths-debunked.htm

For as long as I can remember I have been told that goldfish grow to the size of the bowl or aquarium that they live, and much to my surprise this is not entirely true.  These domesticated freshwater fish don’t often reach their full potential as a result of improper care, not the size of the bowl.  According to the excerpt above, the fish “lacks proper filtration, aeration, water volume for the dilution of waste, space to grow, and biofiltration”

We can learn much from the goldfish example in our own lives such as: why we don’t live up to certain levels of achievement, why we don’t get the promotion at work, why we don’t have more money, and why we don’t shoot a lower score in golf.  Oftentimes we think that we deserve better circumstances than we currently experience and unless we actively change habits that confine our ability to grow and learn, we will most certainly end up stunted like the goldfish.

The everyday golfer purchases the latest equipment to improve their overall game but in reality the equipment is not the only ingredient that will lead to achieving long-term success. Take my decade old Callaway 5-wood for example, I continue to hit the club extremely well and the only thing that I have changed is my swing. I can buy the latest and greatest 5-wood from Callaway but, for what, to gain a few extra yards? I know exactly how far I hit this particular club and I can always go to this club in a high-pressure situation and deliver. 

I look at golf clubs much like the fish bowl; buying the latest and greatest fish bowl will not ensure that the goldfish will grow to full maturity. The proper care instruction mentioned above will lead to overall health and longevity of the goldfish.  More than likely you have a friend or two that purchases the newest and hottest golf club on the market (most likely the latest driver), they swear up and down that they can hit the club better than last year’s model, and all you keep thinking is that they hook it or slice it further than previous years.  I too had this mindset: that my equipment would magically help me attain lower scores yet inevitably I would get frustrated with the end results of more of the same.  I was focused on the better golf club rather than practicing proper techniques to ensure the maturity of my golf swing and all I needed were the fundamentals and basics to achieve greater success on the course.  

The same can be said for the limitations we mentally set for ourselves on a daily basis, a mental fish bowl of sorts.  My limitations and expectation that I set for myself on the golf course were always “you are a short hitter and you can never hit a 300-yard drive”.  I would constantly make excuses for why I could not hit a long drive. I would tell myself that I was not flexible enough or I did not have the swing speed that others possessed.  As I continually practiced and worked on the fundamentals of golf I noticed these mental barriers melting away daily.  I began to hit more consistently and achieved longer distances with all my clubs. Equipment has made significant progress in the past decade yet to maximize enjoyment from your investment you only need to learn proper swing techniques. The latest equipment is only as good as the person using them.

Much can be learned from a goldfish as it relates to life (and golf) in general: one being that the bowl is our limitation, proper maintenance and care is the untapped potential that one can achieve in the future.

Check out this GIANT goldfish HERE