If you have read a lot of my writing, you know that I get a lot of life and business lessons out of martial arts. And I think that was how it was intended a long time ago, to be a way of life. To apply what works in your training into your daily life.
I was in sparring class the other night, and we were doing some drills on reaction time when you’re on the inside. When you and the other person are right in front of each other, attacking and defending, and both trying to get the upper hand.
With fighting and martial arts, you constantly need to break down your art into bite sized pieces, and practice them over and over and over. Every time we learn something new, we break it down and drill it A LOT. Then once we’re proficient at it, we add it into the existing game plan.
At the end of our training session, our coach gave us a little review. And as happens often, what he said ““ even though he was talking about our training session ““ lit up a light in my mind.
He basically said that the goal is to be able to defend and attack on the inside effortlessly. To be able to react quickly to what’s happening and adjust immediately. But sometimes things don’t work the way you want. Sometimes, you’ll be trying as hard as you can, but you’ll still be getting hit a lot, and you just can’t seem to land any shots”¦
“¦but there’s no rule that says you have to stay in there and continue getting beat up. Sometimes the best thing to do is to step back. Get out of there, and look at the situation from the outside. Get out of the struggle and reasses from an outside vantage point. Then, decide how you’re going to re-engage. Or if you want to re-engage at all.
(That idea goes hand in hand with that quote attributed to Albert Einstein, that a problem can’t be solved by the same awareness that created it. That quote always sounded cool to me, but it didn’t really click until that one evening at the gym.)
He caught himself at the end of his talk, realizing what he said transcended into life. “˜I’m dropping life lessons here, guys!’ He certainly was.
I know for sure that there are times when I am so committed to making something work in my business, that stubbornness takes over. I just put my head down and keep going at it. If it’s not working, I keep going anyway, trying to will the results I want. And this ends up draining a lot of time, energy and confidence. When it would have been better spend taking a step back, taking a breather, and reassessing the situation. Maybe all that is required is a small tweak, maybe more.
And what about in relationships? Oh boy”¦ I could write a book on how this one tip could have changed the last 5 years of my life dramatically. Knowing when to step back and look at things from the outside in isn’t just a good relationship tip, it’s a survival strategy! Or more seriously, it’s how a relationship will thrive.
Too often, I’d get into disagreements and discussions that would just play on loop for days and weeks and months. Nothing ever got resolved, we both had the same stance and no one was changing. We just talked about it to death. We were always in the pocket, battling it out.
Mind you, this doesn’t mean that we were fighting or being mean or yelling. We were talking, genuinely wanting to work it out. Sometimes one of us would get flustered, anxious, fed up”¦ it happens. I lost my temper sometimes out of frustration. But we always talked, we always tried to explain how we felt. But we rarely stepped back, away from it all, and reassessed. It could have made a huge difference. It most likely would have.
And just like in my training, when it comes to all aspects of life, we have to go after it one chunk at a time. You can’t just “˜build a business’. You have to break it down into steps, and start with Step 1. Get that right and move onto Step 2. The foundation has to be built first. Always. Even for the tallest skyscraper.
And relationships have to be build one brick at a time also. Bite sized chunks. We can’t just be in a relationship today, and have a life-long happy marriage tomorrow. It takes daily action. Bite sized chunks of effort and affection and respect, to build something that lasts a lifetime.
I wish it for myself, and I wish it for you, too.
To Your Success,