Imagine the possibilities of a society filled with people seeking to “Leave it better than they found it…”
Have you ever heard the phrase “Leave it better than you found it?” Have you ever imagined a society where every individual’s actions were predicated on the idea of “Leaving it better than they found it?” For the purpose of improving one’s long term mental health, well being and harmony with nature, I’d argue that individuals who adopt and cultivate this attitude are more likely to develop a sense of purpose; both a duty to themselves and others. Discovering such a purpose can provide individuals with a foundation for which to experience growth mentally, physically and spiritually. In addition to any personal growth one may discover, I’d argue that people who regularly seek to “Leave it better than they found it” are more likely to experience growth in their relationships with people as well.
You may ask yourself, how one can develop a regular habit of “Leaving it better than they found it?” While I’m confident there are any number of ways that would satisfy, I’d argue the game of golf is as good, if not better than most. Playing golf regularly provides an endless number of opportunities with which to care for the course and “Leave it better than you found it.” Examples of caring for the course can be as simple as replacing or sanding your divots, fixing your pitch marks, raking the bunkers and removing any trash that didn’t find its way to the trash can. Moreover, caring for the course can take on additional meaning as there will be plenty of opportunities to sand or repair the divots and pitch marks of others who may have overlooked the importance of “Leaving it better than they found it.”
In addition to leaving the course better than you found it, it can be really helpful for individuals to leave their playing partners better than they found them as well. An example of leaving your playing partners better than you found them is helping them look after any loose clubs that may have been left around the green. It’s not uncommon for golfers to carry a couple of clubs around the green, given their needs while approaching the hole may include more than just a putter. It’s also not uncommon for golfers to overlook a club left lying near the green and it can be really helpful to have an extra set of eyes for the purpose of ensuring everyone returns home with the same number of clubs they showed up with.
Another way to leave others better than you found them is through the cultivation of a positive, encouraging communication climate within the group. This can be helpful when the game begins to “beat people up” and their attitude becomes more negative or self destructive. We can all use genuine words of encouragement during times of struggle. Developing the habit of being supportive to your playing partners is more likely to reinforce or help develop the habit of being supportive to everyday people, loved one’s or otherwise, throughout everyday life.
Lastly, the people who seek to begin each day with a growth mindset and the attitude that they will leave themselves better than they were found, are more likely to take responsibility for their own health and well being. Learning to care for yourself, love yourself and having a very specific understanding of your goals, values and skills will provide individuals with a foundation on which to build and make progress. Most people can understand that every sturdy construction project must begin with a solid foundation. So too must the development of the human spirit be built upon a solid foundation. I would argue that a very critical part of that foundation is the development of an attitude that prioritizes the value of “Leaving it better than you found it.”