Building Pathways: Thoughts on Strategy

Developing strategy and building pathways to success is important. Whether you’re creating a game plan to win a game of chess, finding the fastest way to submit your opponent or planning to create a piece of art, you need to build an effective pathway towards that end goal.

Pathways are more than just physical motions that we go through, it also involves pathways in our mind; adjusting what and how we think. Continue reading

Allowing yourself the space for creativity

Many of us, in the pursuits we are passionate about, have the space to be creative and express ourselves in a true, honest way.

One thing we need to be aware of is that sometimes our focus can narrow and we can become absorbed by single facets of our pursuit. This can leave us without the space to find creative solutions- or to express creativity- because we become hyper-focused on the single thing directly in front of us. Sometimes, we need to take a step back and allow ourselves that space for creativity again.

For myself, my biggest creative pursuit is within Brazilian Jiu-jitsu and I’m constantly trying to find new ways to open up pathways to express myself within the (martial) art form. At times, I’ve felt like I had hit the dreaded “plateau”; where I felt like I was at a point of stasis and not seeing any improvement. I would be dissatisfied because I could not find success with the single thing that I was working on.

But the solution in cases like this is actually very simple. Sometimes, we narrow our focus too much and do not allow for the state of flow to occur, limiting our creativity and ultimately our ability to experiment & improve. When we become too objective focused, we dedicate all of our attention to completing that objective and forget to prioritize other equally important aspects.

A lot of practitioners talk about “opening up their game”. I think that this in a way refers to attending to the creative learning often required within BJJ and other martial arts or sports. Shouldn’t we always open up our games? By allowing ourselves the space to work creatively to solve the problems presented us, we will plateau less, enjoy training more and find more satisfaction when things do start to come together as a result.

Listening to Criticism.

The most valuable people you will ever meet are the ones who won’t always tell you what you want to hear. Remember that.

The people in your life who care enough to tell you what you need to hear, as opposed to what you want to hear, are worth their weight in gold.

Remember that no-one ever created positive change in their life by being encouraged to keep to doing the same mediocre things that they’ve been continuously doing without result. That is called stasis. Stasis will galvanize your way of thinking, it will encourage you to adopt weak, ego-centric narratives that justify your lack of improvement or inability to change the things that aren’t going right in your life.

Surround yourself with people who care about you and the kind of person you are. Be prepared to listen to them without taking offense. If they care enough to tell you when you’ve made a mistake, take that on board and allow it to inform your perceptions of how you act without being hurt or outraged.

Be grateful for criticism. Be grateful for an opportunity to learn and improve as a human being. Be grateful for those who care enough to tell you when you’ve made a mistake.

 

Learning Styles: Understanding how you learn.

All of us know what it’s like to start something new; to be a complete beginner and learn how to do something from scratch. Progress can be slow at times, even frustrating, but we must learn if we hope to become proficient in our chosen area. Martial Arts (Brazilian Jiu-jitsu in particular) has taught me a many great deal of things so far, including how I learn best.

When it comes to learning, the modern consensus is that no two people learn in the same way. We are all different people, so it stands to reason that we will learn differently too. Better understanding how you learn may be the edge you need to help fast track your improvement and progress.  Continue reading

Respect: The Two-Way Street

Showing and giving respect is something we do so regularly in our social interactions with others that it’s often forgotten, only dwelling beneath the surface of our conscious. We will all have experience with both being respected and being disrespected, giving respect to someone and disrespecting someone.

We, as human beings, are naturally wired for social interactions and who & what we respect is something that has been imprinted on us by life experience. The combination of these two things creates a complex filter which we use to interact with others throughout our lives. Sometimes people desire respect where it is not given and at times it is given where it is not deserved. Respect is a two-way street which will certainly pay to understand a little bit better.

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Continue reading

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

The Devil is in the Detail: Paying attention to the small things and being detail oriented.

One of the most important aspects of Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu is the importance of details. When executing a technique, there a certain number of details you must incorporate to perform the move correctly and efficiently. Being detail oriented can make for slow progress at times, however later progression becomes accelerated as your execution of techniques (once learned) never hits a critical mass of errors that lead to the technique being applied failing.

The phrase: “The Devil is in the Detail” is profoundly true within BJJ for this reason. However, understanding and committing to a Detail Oriented approach can have major benefits for any other aspect of your life too.

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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