Barack Obama. Shinzo Abe. And Golf.

Recently President Barack Obama got some flak for playing golf right after talking to the parents of James Foley, the American journalist who got murdered by Islamic terrorists. Soon we then heard of Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe of getting criticized for teeing instead of overseeing the devastating landslides that happened in western Hiroshima.

What’s with golf anyway?

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Well, yes, it’s a good sport that contributes a lot to one’s mental “stability” so to speak. But looking closely, it’s no regular sport wherein you sweat it out and develop endurance per se. In fact, golf is actually an “old man’s game”; here you don’t need to run, jump, or move as fast as you can. Just focus on your shot.. then you can have a lot of talking afterwards.

This is why golf is a good way to network, and at the same time a good means to relieve stress and regain focus.

For the critics of Obama and Abe, naturally, they’d lambast them for “not focusing” on their job. On the other hand, supporters of these leaders would of course point to the need for some downtime – even point at other presidents like George Bush in 2002 who did the same by retreating to golf during a crisis.

Actually, both critics and supporters got their point. This would mean the real issue is really in the balancing of the situation. In understanding what kind of group you are actually leading and the issues that are confounding it.

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Be reminded though, government is different from business in the sense that a country never runs out of problems – from poverty to unemployment to security, everything – while a company’s woes are just confined within its products, the people it deals with and its immediate locations.

So as we can see, governing a powerful country especially is more tense than business; thus there is more need to have downtimes as necessary. Business? Sometimes, leaders do it out of boredom or the love for an easy life. See what happens to even notable companies? Struggles. Too much of golfing is bad.

In the case of Obama and Abe, they should just be able to “recoil” faster. Yes, Abe did play just 4 holes before returning to business. Obama? It’s not really the club that’s the problem, it’s the indifference. And yes, the “vacationing”, cause this means it’s not just 4 holes that he could do away with – when there are urgent matters that need his attention.

Leaders are also human but, you should not run for office if you can’t really handle pressure. And I’m not even referring to Obama nor Abe in this essence.

What’s your take?

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