It’s nice to say that we’re going to build confidence and responsibility, but what does this mean in practice?
It’s nice to say that you’re going to set goals, build confidence, take on more responsibility in your life… but what does that mean in the day-to-day?
How will you do it?
In the martial arts, there are a few strategies we use to help us squeeze some of the juice out of the things we’re experiencing as practitioners…and they’re simple enough to help anyone – no matter the age or stage.
One way is to change our thinking habits. Not just what we do, but how we process.
Here’s a list of three ideas you can try on right away. I don’t recommend trying to excel with all three of them, especially not all at once, but try one at a time and see what helps you.
1. Practice thinking bigger. Even though we’re exposed to all sorts of new experiences, skills and personalities every day, we forget about them pretty quickly and go back to our “little” ways of thinking. This is especially true in the Martial Arts. So start developing the habit of noticing when you’re shrinking back to your “old” habits and ways of thinking. In the dojo, we find that Black Belt expansiveness is far more exciting than White Belt limits. Not only that, but we need to be careful about “thinking small” – we might accidentally become successful at creating a mediocre life.
2. Decide in advance. One manifestation of this is “visualization”, but what we’re talking about is more closely related to expecting more from ourselves. We can “decide in advance” to approach others with more openness, to push ourselves outside our comfort zone, to try something different. Don’t wait until you’re in a crisis or a difficult situation. This stuff has to be planned out beforehand so you have a pool to draw upon. And it works well on the mat or off.
3. Accept 100% responsibility. Blaming others does more harm than good. The tricky part about this is to accept responsibility even when your logical mind is telling you that someone else is at fault. So what are you accepting responsibility for? Your own reactions. Having great emotional control means acknowledging when something sets you off. The classroom is too hot, your partner isn’t paying attention, you’ve run into traffic – these are all very powerful emotional triggers in training. The same in all the other parts of our lives, whether we’re at home or at the office or out with friends. If we’re not looking, it’s easier to tell ourselves a convoluted story than to notice that we’ve let something upset our balance. So don’t blame and don’t complain.
There are other ideas, of course, but these are a good start.
And any time you find yourself feeling unfulfilled or frustrated, take a look back at whether your mental habits are helping or hurting you. Ask yourself, when you’re in class and right afterwards, whether you’re showing your training process deep respect and appreciation. Are you expanding or contracting? Consider whether you’re focused on helping them others or protecting yourself.
If you can stay mindful of the process, picking up a little momentum with these three tactics, you’ll find that there’s more juice to squeeze every time you train.
Did we miss anything? Are there other strategies you use to “squeeze more juice” from your daily activities? Let us know in the comments!
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