One of the things that attracted me to training in the martial arts is the physical exhaustion you go through when working out. There are certain times where working out beyond the norm is purposefully part of the training curriculum. You are asked to do more when you really can’t go on, physically or mentally. And with good reason. It is in those moments where you feel like you can’t do anymore that you learn a lot about pushing yourself. It’s where you learn how to have personal drive. And regardless of whether or not you are male or female, it’s also where you learn not be a princess.
Push A Little
In black belt testing part of the process is to push the brown belt trying to reach for success beyond their limits. This type of training is very common in SEAL or Ranger training that is performed by the US military. Move the soldier beyond the point of exhaustion and see how they react and make decisions based on a situation presented to them. In martial arts training, we refer to this as having Indomitable Spirit, one of the 6 Elements that black belts train to achieve.
Yet in either of these examples, while exhausting, it is never that bad. Yet, I find it interesting in daily life how often people are unwilling to push themselves just a little more. I am not talking about big intrusive changes to their lives. Just the laziness factor I regular see by other people (and even myself).
How often have you heard these as excuses?
- I’d love to help out, I just don’t have the time.
- With all we have going on right now, I don’t think it makes sense to take this on.
- I’ll get to this if I can.
To be clear I am not talking about people that are legitimately busy and have too much on their plate. Saying any of the above are fine if it is done with proper expectation setting. I am referring to the now all to common “excuse button” we hit, when we think we can’t really do anymore. The above statements can be viewed as external conversation points with another person.
But the real personal development activity takes place when we catch ourselves saying these simply to ourselves.
Ask Yourself – How Bad Is It
You are doing right by yourself, and potentially someone else who may be hitting the button, on any of the above. If you truly are busy, or want more time, or don’t want to commit to something because you can’t follow through, there isn’t anything wrong with saying so. However when you are saying it to yourself, you need to stop for a moment and understand why you are saying it.
- Is the reason legitimate in terms of a time trade-off in order to do something else?
- Is the issue at hand to hard or overwhelming to deal with if you were to spend time on it?
- Are you simply unmotivated to move forward and take action? If so, can you define why that is?
Take Small Action and Evaluate
So assuming that none of the above reasons you come up with are legitimate AND there is value in your taking action then take a single step. Don’t try and throw your entire being into the issue or problem at hand. This isn’t a life or death commitment (like SEAL training), just take a step (even a princess can do that). And while you are taking that step ask yourself:
- How hard was it to do this?
- What was holding you back?
- Did you learn something in the process?
- Can you take another step after this one?
A lot of people say “take action” and I am all for that. But sometimes, you have to deal with whatever the underlying issue is that holding you back from doing that. Start small. Take a step. Don’t make excuses. And, if nothing else – stop being a princess.
Thanks for training with me.