Fear the Mediocre: thoughts on a new way to motivate yourself.

Some of us struggle with motivation. We start out strong with all the right intentions, but start to fade when things get tough or we don’t see results within a perceived timeframe. I’ve spoken previously on the importance of discipline over motivation, but it’s still important to have motivation. How can we keep motivated when things start getting tough?  Continue reading

Embracing Challenge.

We all face challenges on a day to day basis, how we respond to them is essentially the largest shaping factor in our lives. Do we step up to the challenges presented to us? Or do we back away?

Facing your challenges is the only hope you have to build resilience within yourself. Embrace challenges because of their difficulty and you will find yourself desiring greater and greater challenges. The rewards are not immediately obvious when we face unfamiliar challenges, yet they are still present; hiding beneath the surface. They are also much, much larger than you may imagine. When you finally complete your task & overcome your set of challenges, a change takes place in your mind. Your confidence grows, your belief in yourself is reinforced. When you complete what you set out to do, you affirm yourself and your desires to achieve.

Think about the most memorable days of your life so far. Chances are they were the days where you were challenged and you overcame. The best days of your life are not the meaningless, easy and inconsequential ones; the best days are the ones that presented you with stress, nerves, challenges and made you question yourself. 

We, as human beings, have been impacted more so by conflict than any other factor. Our entire biology has been influenced by it; our minds and our bodies have evolved to deal with conflict and solve problems.

Put yourself to the test: Embrace Challenge. To reject challenge is to reject living life. 

 

Sacrifice

Think about the thing you’re really passionate about- that thing that gets you out of bed in the morning. No one would argue that you’re dedicated, you work hard and orient your life around it. But what sacrifices are you willing to make for it? 

Chances are high that you already make some sacrifices for it. You dedicate and sacrifice your free time, if it’s a physical pursuit you sacrifice your body’s well being at times too. When you look forward and you picture yourself still committed to your passion in five, ten, fifteen years from now what sacrifices do you anticipate you will have to make for it? You’re going to have to sacrifice more time; time with friends and family, time that you may want to use for other things. You’re going to have to sacrifice even more of your well being (physically and mentally). Some of these sacrifices could completely change your life. So anticipate them and ask yourself: are you willing to make them?

If you are not willing to sacrifice for your chosen pursuit, you are not pursuing the right thing. Only your true passion- your calling in life- will make you feel willing to sacrifice endlessly for it. Your passion should be the driving force in your life, so why would you only half dedicate yourself to it? Think about those at the highest echelons of human achievement; they did not get there by compromising or by holding back. Sacrifice is the price demanded by success, make sure you are willing to pay the price.

Competition Mindset: The Do’s & Don’ts

Participating in competition provides a huge opportunity to receive some important  feedback about your Jiu-jitsu. Competing helps to sharpen the blade in a way that not even highly demanding training can; you will find out very quickly what works and what doesn’t.

More importantly, you will also learn a lot about yourself; how you deal with stress, how you deal with winning & losing and how to develop strategy & positive training habits. Competition can offer all of these things to the practitioner who adopts the correct mindset for competing. There are some Do’s & Don’ts for developing a good mindset for competition, this article will take a closer look at some of these and hopefully help you develop a mental edge going into your next competition experience.  Continue reading

Asking for it versus Taking it: Thoughts on expectations and perceptions of “what you deserve”

We live in an age where social media and ultra fast digital communications have bred a culture of instant gratification, providing instant gratification and superficial satisfaction for those who seek it. Despite how “noble” we may think our disciplines or pursuits are, they are not immune to these pitfalls.

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I want to take some time to hopefully make you reflect on what it is you want. What do you feel like you’re entitled to? Do you feel as if you deserve it? What do you ask for and what do you deserve?  Continue reading

Keep Climbing: Thoughts on Reaching lofty heights and New Horizons.

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“The higher we go, the wider our horizons become- and the bigger the challenge of looking beyond them”

Yuri Milner

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

Learn Self Control or Learn to be Controlled.

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

No Trying, Only Doing.

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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

Stay Alive: Thoughts on dealing with depression.

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. 

Elevate those around you.

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