July 7, 2022 2:14 pm

Deep Work and the Sleep Yips

Deep work is arguably the pinnacle of human existence. The phrase "deep work" has been remarkably cheapened by Twitter productivity shamers, so I am going to define my own personal definition quickly here. Deep work is when the demand of your focus on the subject at hand is high enough that your short term memory and concentration is fully engrossed in handling all the necessary aspects.

Golf in its purest form is the epitome of deep work. Executing a golf shot requires memorization of all the aspects of the shot. Similarly to grandmaster chess players who can chunk scenarios in their head, golf geniuses (Jordan Spieth) can chunk more complex shots. One reason why I love playing golf courses built by architectural legends like Pete Dye is that you get these types of shots almost every hole, especially the short game shots. An example occurred the other day of a pretty immensely demanding shot.

The shot in question was a sand shot from a downslope that needed to be killed into an upslope of a ridge on the green with enough spin that when it crested the top of the ridge it carried very little speed. How much speed? Enough that it would start to crawl down the other side of the ridge, and slow enough to take the necessary amount of break to the right to get near the hole, and then a little bit left again once it reached the hole. 

The mystique of golf that I believe draws so many people towards it is that to execute a shot like that, and it get the unknown RPMs of spin, mph of ball speed, arc of the shot, and landed spot correct is to engross yourself into the physical world surrounding yourself with a made up visual that you're going to manifest in reality. It's a union of memorization and doing. Serious depth of work.

Sadly, most of us don't get to wade in to depths past our ankles on the golf course or in other arenas due to lifestyles that don't let our brain synchronize with reality so intensely. Sleep and micronutrient deficiencies come to mind as the greatest inhibitors, and they work hand in hand. 

A close friend of Sharp Lid somewhat recently read Matthew Walker’s book on the importance of sleep, and now goes toe to toe with the Sleep Yips on a nightly basis. I am not above Sleep Yips myself. A virus of thoughts creeps into my head the night before a cool event, preaching to me about how phenomenal the experience will be after absorbing a full rack of REM cycles.

Curing the Sleep Yips is a bear of a task, multifaceted to say the least. We’ll cover that another day. Until then, enjoy the consuming meshes with reality when they happen and hopefully we can crack how to do it on purpose.