Saturday, March 26, 2011

Responsibility and Success, Together at Last!

Who is responsible for your success?

This is actually something that has come up just recently in a couple of venues in my life, both at Karate and with school.  I have long been a proponent that there is indeed only one person solely responsible for one’s success.  While it is true that we all need guidance and help from time to time from other people there is, in the end one person that decides to act upon the guidance, accept advice or take help when it is offered.

Many people fold at times of adversity or look for an easy way out or excuse.  But who’s choice is that?  I agree, things in life are not always as easy as we’d like them to be, but growth comes from facing challenges head on and doing what must be done when it must be done.  It’s such an accepted paradigm that it’s everywhere.  Any movie that had character growth there is some sort of conflict or situation that must be over come.  Any video game where experience must be earned, battles are the way to make it happen.  In this instance life is no different except you are not passively watching  , or controlling a character.

You are responsible for your own success or failure, at times it may seem easier to blame others, to complain that life is unfair.  It takes a realization of responsibility and a concerted effort to accept a challenge and grow.

Monday, March 14, 2011

Self Confidence

For the last little while I have been…  “gently encouraging” someone I know at karate to take a bit more of a leadership role.  And while progress is being made there is an acknowledged lack of self confidence that stands betwixt her and the next level.

Self confidence can be a very elusive thing for some people while for others it’s something they have heaps of exuding from everywhere.  How do you go about getting self confidence?  That's a good question and if there was one sure fire answer, and I had it, I could have professional athletes lined up at my door for the secret.

For me self confidence is really about self trust, and self truth.  I know what I am good at, I know what I stink at, and it’s the things I stink at that I put the most work into.  Because eventually I won’t be awful at them anymore and then that will be one less thing to be self conscious about.

Here is an example.

Last summer whilst gearing up for the trials of the Black Belt grading Pete and I were asked to preform traditional Katas in front of a couple of Sensi I had never even met before.  My self confidence was very low, because I knew that especially when preforming these kata next to Pete I was a disaster at them.  And it showed, not only by comparison, but on my own as well.  My lack of confidence permeated every move I made, and made something that was not very good to begin with twice as bad.  That experience had me feeling very unprepared, and not very confident.

How did I fix that?  Practice.  I knew what was taking my confidence away and so I aimed to solve the situation with many hours of concerted practice.  When you are being called upon to preform that is the only solution.

Self Confidence is not something you can practice directly though, you simply have to put yourself in situations where you have to overcome something, and then succeed over and over again until your realize that yes, in any given situation I have the tools and the skills to be good at whatever I am doing.

Saturday, March 12, 2011


I hate being sick.  Every 2 years or so I get sick enough that I can't do much of anything for a few days.  I was hoping that with being in better shape I would have broken that cycle, and it did end up being delayed a little bit but what can you do?

This time I've just had a fever really which has now turned into a head that feels like it will explode with sinuses all stuffed up, though that is passing a bit now. In 2009 I was laid up on the couch for about a week and while I drifted in an out of consciousness I learned a lot about playing poker as a watched a whole tournament.  In December of 2006 it was the worst though I would say, I spent about 2 weeks hacking up slimeballs.  Dreadful.

I think what upsets me most about this round of sickness is that it knocked me out of two days of placement, which is not ideal in any way.  Thankfully it is passing now and by Monday I should be alright again for another two years with a cold here and there sprinkled in for good measure.

I do think handling sickness is in how you approach it though, once my fever had loosened it's grip on me I got a little bit of housework and homework done, during the short colds I had earlier this year I still went to the gym and hockey.  A lot of people really shutdown completely when they get the sniffles, and I think that's counter productive to get better.  Get your body moving a bit and do a few things here and there and you'll get better faster.