“The higher we go, the wider our horizons become- and the bigger the challenge of looking beyond them”
When we set ourselves goals, they often are (and should be) ambitious. The person you are currently may not even be able to achieve that goal. This is a good thing; it means you will have to grow as a person to achieve it.
Climbing a mountain provides a good analogy to achieving a goal. From the foot of the mountain, the peak seems so far away. We may not even have a plan yet on how to climb the mountain yet, but we know that somehow we will find a way. I’ve talked before about setting goals and how to find success at reaching those goals, but what about once we’ve reached them? What’s next? From the peak of the mountain, we can see further. Once we reach success with one goal, we can start to set another. Continue reading
I’ve talked about discipline here before, but I am a firm believer that this is the cornerstone of achieving anything worthwhile in your life. Before I started Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, I had no self control. I couldn’t control my temper, I was easily frustrated by tasks that I believed I should have been able to do and I would quit or give up and I was lazy.
Since then, I’ve come to realize a few things about myself and about how we should act if we want to get anywhere close to satisfaction- or success- with our lives. One of the most important things I’ve come to learn is that If you can’t learn to control yourself, you will be controlled by others. These others can be people, circumstances, bad or good situations that you find yourself in. Continue reading
As a big Star Wars fan, I’ve always noticed the close parallels between the protagonists of George Lucas’ universe: The Jedi, and practitioners of the Martial Arts. Yoda, the ageing grand master and ever-wise mentor, is of particular interest to me and one of his many classic quotes will form the central idea of this post.
The stoic and philosophical nature of his character has been described by some as “mystical”, however I would argue that is less “mystical” and more “methodical”. For anyone involved in the martial arts, creative arts (or any discipline really); I think we can all begin to glean some deep understandings from one of my favorite Yoda quotes: “Try not, do or do not. There is no Try.” Continue reading
I recently saw a piece of writing that said “Up to this point, you’ve survived 100% of the challenges you’ve faced in you life. You’re doing pretty well so far.”
It’s true. The fact that you’re alive to read this, despite the problems you’re facing today, means that you’ve successfully survived everything life has thrown at you as far.
Having dealt with many teens and students suffering from acute depression post the Christchurch Earthquake, I struggled at first to find ways to make students realize that they still had things to be grateful for. They couldn’t find the way to the light. Having battled throughout my life with depression too, it really upset me that I was not able to show these students a way to overcome it.
The answer was far simpler than I thought… If you’re alive, you’re already doing far better than you thought. None of the problems you’ve encountered so far have been big enough to kill you, which means that either you’re stronger than you think or that the gravity of your problems aren’t actually as heavy as you think.
The big problem with depression is that it’s not rational. It lurks in the deep egresses of our subconscious and crawls forward like a fog without showing itself to the person suffering from it. To overcome it, we first have to identify it, then we can consciously counter it by dwelling on what we are grateful for and what we have achieved despite it.
So, dwell on what you’re grateful for.
If you’re reading this, it means you’re alive, so there’s one thing you can be grateful for already.
If you’re alive, you’ve survived all the adversity you’ve already faced in your life.
If you’re alive, it means you can still overcome any adversity that you are still yet to face too.
One of the truly unique things about Brazilian Jiu-jitsu is the connections we make on the mat; after any stretch of time training at a gym, you are bound to make friends out of your training partners. You experience various challenges together, develop your skills together and, most importantly, make friends for life. I’d like to think that many of us are conscientious training partners; striving to reach our goals alongside our friends and training partners.
I was asked an interesting question recently by a friend who doesn’t train (often naive eyes can present us with new ways of looking at a question we have taken for granted.): Don’t you find it difficult sparring with your friends when you know some techniques hurt them?
My immediate response was simple: I don’t use techniques that hurt my training partners. The more I thought about this question however, the more I started to look at it from different angles… Continue reading
Plato once said “All the gold which is under or upon the earth is not enough to give in exchange for virtue.” When I think of Plato’s idea of Virtue, two things come to mind: Integrity and Principles.
Regardless of the society we live in, the laws that govern us or any other external factors; the primary compass through which our lives are guided are our internal Principles. These Principles form the code by which we live by; they form our Integrity as people and, in my opinion, they are the Virtues that Plato expounded as our means to live by.
So what does it mean to have integrity? How do we preserve ours? We live in a world that demands much of us, at times we may even feel pressured to compromise our own principles for a (perceived) beneficial outcome. Continue reading
One of my favorite quotes is by Thomas Jefferson:
“In matters of style, swim with the current; on matters of principle, stand like a rock”
I have primarily concerned myself with the second half of this quote and the emphasis placed by Jefferson on not compromising ourselves for the sake of others. As an innovator and agent of change himself, Jefferson’s quote is a perfect fit for the concept I’ve been thinking about recently.
Recently, I turned my attention to the first half of the quote: “In matters of style, swim with the current.” We live in a rapidly changing world that demands that we are able to adapt, change and innovate. To keep our head above water, we have to learn to swim with the current: adapt, innovate and change to survive.
Many of us aim to elevate ourselves to reach success, but remembering those around you can often help us to reach that success faster if we help to elevate them.
So often we end up focusing purely on self-elevation; improving ourselves and trying to elevate our own situation. What about those around us? Our friends, family, colleagues or training partners? If we try to elevate them too, helping them to reach their goals, the whole process of climbing to the top of the mountain becomes a whole lot easier, if not a little less lonely. Continue reading
In academics, I see a lot of students changing their entire narrative- of the world and themselves- in relation to their expectations and their perceived success in meeting those expectations. I see this in us all. We don’t often realize this, but our expectations and our perceived success shape our reality.
We are all told to seize the moment, but what does it take to make that happen? How do we perfect our ability to make the most out of the opportunities life offers us? Whether it’s applying for that dream job, finding the courage to talk to someone new for the first time, executing a technique or running the perfect line, it comes down to something simple. Timing. Continue reading