This was written more for my martial arts students and friends but as always the case, there are lessons to be applied to life at large.

 




 

 Often as we embark on a journey we can experience anxiety at the sheer size or depth of the undertaking. We begin to second guess ourselves and wonder if we are capable of such a journey or of being able to sustain such a journey.

 

 Sure, we have a vision of what it may look like at the end of our sojourn. Sure, we have counted the costs as far as we could ascertain from this vantage point. Yes, we have committed to the undertaking...but the size of the undertaking appears so daunting! What do we do?

 

 Indeed what do we do? We begin to ask ourselves if we will ever be able to complete such a  task. If we are learning a new style or even progressing in our current style, we may experience despair at the thought of how long it may take to progress.

 

 Yet, here are a few keys that may help:

 

  1. Give yourself time. You have make space in your mind in order for you to learn. If you are impatient with your progress, you will hinder your growth. Pay more attention to the details than to getting to the end.

  2. Empty your cup. If you approach your learning filled with preconceived notions, those notions will color your perspective and keep you from learning something new that you might have missed. If you think you can’t, then you can’t. If you think you can, then you will find a way.

  3. While it fine to look at the big picture to see where you are going, you must put your sights on what is at hand. Apply yourself where you are. Learn what is before you to learn.

  4. Seek to understand the concepts not just the technique. If you learn 10 techniques, you may have small tool box. If you learn one concept and explore ways to apply that concept, you can multiple the tools in your toolbox. The same applies to life at large- live by principles and the decisions can become easier to sort out ( though not always easier to execute)

  5. Most importantly- prioritize process over the end product. Not only is the journey itself more important than destination, the journey is the vehicle that will cause the greatest amount of development in you. In the journey, you come face to face with you. You have the opportunities to see both your strengths and your limitations. You are able to develop and transcend your limitations as well as fortify your strengths.  Let your focus be on the journey. Pay attention to the details. If you focus on the pieces, the puzzle will take care of itself. Let go of frustrations and remind yourself that it is all a learning process. Simply seek for understanding and the betterment of your self no matter how small it may seem to you.

  6. Understand that the opportunity to learn never ceases unless you do. Get comfortable with the idea that there is always something else to learn. Our great teachers have all continued to learn and further master and refine their personal expressions of their art by learning other arts as well. My major teachers have been constant and astute students who have continued to learn- they have also stood on the shoulders of giants and in the process, have become giants in themselves. They have then passed their knowledge on to us so that we may benefit greatly from it.  If you decide you have acquired all the understanding and skill you need, then your ability to learn and grow will be hindered if not completely stifled.

  7. Be content, yet yearn for more. This can be a delicate balancing act at times yet it is so important. Know that you will improve as long as you apply yourself. Be content with your present level of accomplishment as long as you have been applying yourself diligently. If you haven’t been applying yourself, then let go of the self incriminations and get to work! Yearn in your heart for more- always want to improve. Your desire for growth is part of your own journey. It does not need to be measured by the advancement or lack of advancement of others. Seek to be better than you were last week. Incremental improvements will compound with  and on top of the other advancements and before you know it- you will have moved much farther down the line.