“We cannot become what we want by remaining who we are.” `Max Dupree
Over the years it has been extremely frustrating to watch countless students start their training, find early success, just to quit after a few short months when they realize to reach more significant growth they are going to have to change. This resistance isn’t only for beginning students. It also happens to more experienced students that believe the initial way they are introduced to a concept is the absolute “way.” Only to learn that this new aspect is simply a part of a greater process which will require more growth and change.
The frustration as a mentor comes from the dichotomy of committing to improve and yet seemingly wanting to stay the same- have the same life. Students come in wanting to develop the knowledge and skills to defend themselves. Undoubtedly a valiant decision for themselves and their loved ones. This decision alone should inspire the acceptance of change. “If I believe I can’t defend myself… I will need to become someone who can.”
It truly comes back to Emotional Fitness- The ability to represent events in a positive way and additionally to overcome any negative thoughts that could persuade us from our intentions. As we stated earlier about students finding early success. It is important that we recognize there is some very low hanging fruit. As we begin Martial Arts training (or pretty much any new endeavor) there are very noticeable changes that can occur and that are relatively easy to accomplish. However, that doesn’t mean they are all easy to stay continuous may be challenging. Such as in dieting; sure it’s easy to eat healthy for a meal or a day but so often our lives can potentially conflict with doing so for a week, a month or even longer. There obviously is something about our lifestyle that prevents us from eating healthy in the first place. For us to continue with our goal to eat healthy and be healthy it is going to require we change many things about ourselves.
For us to instill continuous improvement we must make incremental changes. The large improvements we recognize in the beginning of our training have a noticeable “half-life.” Soon they are half as noticeable but take twice the effort, then they become even less noticeable and require even more effort and time than before. However again, more noticeable and really what happens is we don’t really notice the changes as much but we start to realize the benefits. Back to the dieting; the pounds seem to get harder and harder to lose. At first we make large gains… 5-10 pounds a week. Yet 3 or 4 weeks down the road and we are following the plans strictly we loss a mere 1-2 pounds. However, now there might be new indicators. It’s easier to run up those stairs, cloths fit so much better, we feel incredible, etc. One that might be significantly more important is we now have no cravings for sweets. It’s easier to find reasons for that workout instead of making excuses for not doing it, etc. We suddenly realize we have changed. We are no longer the person were once were. Instead of saying “I need to go on a diet” we now say “I am a healthy eater.”
This is what our students need to realize. Embracing the responsibility that to become more confident and committed to themselves they must have the compassion and belief that they can change and become the person they want to be.
At Attitude First, it is imperative to understand students are in a safe place. A place dedicated and open to growth and improvement. A place where we not only understand failing but actually embrace it as we understand it helps direct our training. We learn not only how to execute the principles of motion but why. Failing helps guide us and allows for correction. However, not for quitting.
Our members truly appreciate that taking on the responsibility to change takes courage. Understandably, there may be thoughts “if I have to change, that means I’m not a worthy individual.” Nothing couldn’t be further from the truth. In fact, it’s that the individual that has the courage to change is a truly worthy of our respect. We are all on the “Path to Excellence” which will require that each of us works towards continuous improvement which will require continuous change.