Ben Franklin said "There are three things extremely hard: steel, diamonds and to know one's self." I'm sure you can add several more—like winning one of golf's majors. But, reflection upon the 2023 Masters offered me insight not only into myself but humanity, as well. Here's how.
On her podcast, Happier, Gretchen Rubin asks the question "Are You an Over-Buyer or an Under-Buyer? She writes, "this distinction encapsulates one of my very favorite (if not most weighty) personal insights into human nature." She adds, "It’s not particularly productive to be in too deep as an over- or under-buyer; both offer certain advantages but also some definite drawbacks." She follows up her claim with questions you can answer to help you self-identify.
This paradigm for understanding ourself isn't limited to what we purchase or not. Rubin also asks "Are you an under-estimator or an over-estimator?" For example, Do you budget too much or too little? When you head out the door, do you allow enough time to arrive or are you always cutting it close? Realizing what I am has helped me to plan accordingly. Every one of us is a work in progress. This type of self knowledge has helped me pave a better path.
These questions also reveal preferences and style. Do you overstate or understate? Overshare (boo) or undershare? Are you a minimalist or a maximalist? Is less really more or is more, more?!
I came clean in my post A Case for Understatement—In Sports and Beyond. I realize I underestimate and I probably underbuy. As ethicists say, "all things in moderation, including moderation." The challenge with this principle is that the mean is relative. See earlier claim about "work in progress!"
As a sports fan, the week leading up to the first major of the year, The Masters is like Christmas. I love the predictions, recalling tourneys of the past, the promotion of unique traditions at Augusta National and more. And, I have to be honest—The Masters is a guilty pleasure.
It is common knowledge that Augusta National plays by its own rules. They don't apologize for who they are, nor do they compromise. In short, they are who they are. The number of people who really know what that means is infinitesimal to those who want to know! And yet, the sheer amount of social media promoted by The Masters in 2023 led me to hit pause and reconcile an image I once had with what was unfolding before me.
Augusta National has buildings, rooms and events are that are private. My sense is that only members and the players (and maybe their coaches and/or families) were led into these inner sanctums. However, this year it was as if every sacred chamber was posted online. While I was already familiar with Butler's Cabin, thanks to Instagram I saw locker rooms, changing rooms, closets and walkways. While one would expect a golf glutton like me to delight in the 360 access, it was too much.
We live in a society that leans toward the overshare. Very little is left to the imagination anymore. I want Augusta National or at least my understanding of "The Masters" to follow suit—to be countercultural. In other words, I want their m.o. to be "While everyone else records, promotes and publishes any and every moment as it unfolds, we are going to offer something....but not everything." Understate it baby, you got this.
While I am not writing about a moral issue, I think considering our preferences, evaluating our reactions and checking in on what we prefer can help us to understand who we are and what we value. Not a bad or hard way to learn about thy-self.
Did you happen to notice the amount of social media and full access featured in this year's Masters? As a fan do you want even more? Was it too much? I welcome your input