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Personal Best Karate

A definition of winning for an adult martial arts student

Posted: March 18, 2020

When I first started competing, I lost a lot. The popular habit of some of the people I was training with at the time was to become bitter.  Much time was wasted going down the list of all the things you could point the finger of blame at, including bad judging.  Enter my teacher at the time, who instilled in me the idea that I had to train to be so good that the judges couldn’t take it from me, and until I was that good, I should just train.  Sure enough, the wins started to come more frequently.  

Now at 50 years old, I do not compete anymore, so how do I fill the void of competition that I had for so long?  I look at each workout as a contest, - me against me.  Can I push myself further than I previously did?  Can I resist the comparison to others?... that’s a win.  Can I help someone in my class get better so they can eventually push me as an equal?...that’s a win.  In my jiu jitsu training, can I suppress my competitive side enough to train with people who are better than I am, knowing that I am going to be defeated in the match, but the experience is providing me the chance to be better?... that’s a win.  Finally, can I lose myself in my workout so that the day’s challenges and the ticking clock don’t steal my attention?... that’s a win.  

There are so many very helpful and productive ways to provide a “winning” mindset to your training, and equally, so many that can lead to discouragement.  Check to be sure your approach is setting you up for consistent long-term enjoyment.  Let’s face it - if you feel like you are winning, that leads to continued enjoyment and progress.


Personal Commercials Are Not Real

Posted: March 11, 2020

Have you ever watched television and a commercial comes on and you actually believe what you see? 

Of course not! Commercials are there to entertain and encourage you to purchase whatever they are promoting. They are so expertly done they can even take opposites - like a professional athlete eating fast food and drinking soft drinks - and persuade the audience to forget that poor quality, high-fat foods, and sugar water are detrimental to the body over time (which is backed by scientific research).  

When is the last time you saw an advertisement for a vacation with anything but perfect blue skies? I don’t know about you but I have been on plenty of vacations when it has rained non-stop. 


Grapes are more valuable after they are crushed!

Posted: March 04, 2020

Ever wish for a problem-free existence?... me too! The idea of simply not having to deal with the challenges that are a part of every day can be very appealing. What about having someone to deal with all of them for you, so you do not have to give any attention to them at all? No family challenges, no time challenges, no financial challenges, etc.

Well, I think we all know that while we are always able to make our life better, the challenges we face and our ability to adapt is what gives us value in the marketplace of life. Think back to a time when you were younger - to something that upset you that now is trivial in nature. It is able to be less important today because you have endured hardship, adapted, grown and gotten better. This happens to those who are continually striving for their full potential in big and small ways every day.

Your perspective from these experiences can’t be given, it has to be earned, and the earning is what enables you to be a more valuable person to the people around you. Think about it this way; how much is a pound of grapes? Maybe $4.99? When is the last time you found a bottle of wine for $4.99. crushing the grapes and aging the juice is what brings its value up so high.


Three Final Considerations When Choosing Who Will be Your Role Model

Posted: February 24, 2020

When choosing a role model you are going to face an immediate dichotomy, and it is this: you want to find a role model to help you become better in an area than you are now, but your human tendency will want to be to choose someone just like you.  While there is a balance, I think you need to keep an open mind.  Should their morals and values be a match, - absolutely. But do keep in mind that the more they are like you, the more comfortable in your current habits and thoughts you will be. Remember - sustainable growth requires the willingness to continue to adapt to change and challenge.   

 

Another consideration is to keep your expectations of them in line.  No matter how much admiration you have for the person, they are, in the end, perfectly imperfect. A big part of their success may in fact, be due to how many times they were willing to feel the pain of failure; but keep in mind that with every wrong step they are closer to getting it right.  Yes, you have the chance to start on the shoulders of their learning, but you will still need to be willing to endure to get the result you want.


The Careful Art of Choosing A Role Model

Posted: February 18, 2020

In 1993, I had the chance to meet one of my personal development heroes, the legendary motivational speaker Mr. Zig Ziglar. 

As I listened to him answer questions in a very small group, I was able to ask him a question I had wondered.  “With everyone out giving advice on how to live, how do YOU choose who to listen to?” 

His answer was, as expected, brilliant.  He said,” Humans are physical, mental and spiritual.  Before I take someone’s advice to heart I look at them to see how their advice contributes to their happiness and the quality of their life.” After all, success at work is no replacement for a family starved of your attention.  Being purely spiritual but sitting and mediating all day is not going to do good for your physical body, while being physically fit but having a head filled with stress and anxiety is not good either. 


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