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The Language of Success

The Language of Success

Speak The Language of Success

Last week, I wrote about the power that habits can have when we apply them properly to our lives. It’s not really that surprising to think that most of our behaviors relate to habit, and so determine how one feels and acts almost always. They can be a source of true positivity or handicap us, so it’s down to everyone, individually, to think about their own habits and which might be suitable to change.

One particular habit that I’m personally working on, is the habit of using the language of success.

Whether we vocalize it or not, we talk to ourselves almost constantly. At work, while at home, talking with friends, walking about town, while cooking, while eating, while falling asleep, while playing music or reading books – except for those rare moments in which we’re at a loss, we’re usually talking to ourselves about something. What’s interesting is that we have a choice in terms of the type of language we speak to ourselves with, and using the right kinds of language can dramatically affect your day.

Certain words erode your self-power, your positivity and your motivation. Other words build those things up. Listening to which words you use when you’re talking to yourself says a lot about your under-lying attitude toward your life. Are you someone who feels like they are being dragged along? Are you living reluctantly? Do you want to change those feelings? Perhaps all it might take is a switch in the words you use. Here are a few to try:

- Change “have to” to “choose to.” You don’t have to get out of bed. You choose to get out of bed.

- Change “should” to “going to.” Instead of saying that you should cut down on how much you drink or eat, say you’re going to cut down on how much you drink or eat.

- Change “can’t” to “won’t.” It’s not that you cannot read before going to sleep tonight, it’s that you won’t.

- Change “must” to “get to.” Instead of saying that you must go to work tomorrow morning, say that you get to go to work tomorrow.

These are not monumental changes, but they do represent a monumental shift in the way one is viewing the world. The former in each case are examples of words that are passive, that imply loss of control, that reinforce the idea that you’re not the one in command, that you don’t have an ability to influence. The latter words do just the opposite; they imply that you’re the one in control, that you’re the one who’s driving the direction of your life, that you’re the one who is living in the moment and making the decisions that determine how your day will be.

Success, for me, is not material, or based on achievement. Success is in self-control, self-awareness, integrity and appreciation for the things I experience in my life. I don’t always succeed, but when I do, it’s often when my attitude reflects the language I’ve used above.

The words that you use are habitual. If you’re someone who is already using the language of success, whatever your definition of success may be, then you’re already on your way, you’re already taking responsibility for the quality of your experience on this planet. If you’re not, then maybe, just maybe, you might want to have a think about trying to change some of the words you use as you fly through your days.

“Whatever words we utter should be chosen with care for people will hear them and be influenced by them for good or ill.”

~ Buddha

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Martial Habits

Martial Habits

Martial Habits

The sunlight is only just creeping through his curtains as his alarm begins to sound. It is five o’clock in the morning so therefore, the day is beginning. After blinking a few times, he rolls out of bed, finds the switch that provides silence, then stands.

Twenty five minutes later, he’s staring out at the ocean, feeling the wind in his face and watching the sun inch its way toward the sky. He begins his Kata, passing from stance to stance, striking and moving with grace. There are only a few other early-risers to see his ritual, who occasionally catch his eye and nod, appreciatively.

His routine complete, he returns home, makes coffee, showers, eats breakfast and joins the human race, who are just getting out of bed.

I have been thinking and reading a lot lately about willpower. From what I gather, it is now understood to be as much of a muscle as your bicep. You can only use it so much each day before it becomes tired and weak. With practice, it can be trained to endure more and be used for greater things, but it is, without doubt, a finite resource. Some estimate that as human beings, we are faced with an almost constant battle between impulse and self-control; that our lives are quite literally filled with tiny, momentary resistances to whatever takes our fancy. It becomes no surprise that by the end of the day, most are only capable of throwing their feet up, watching television and disengaging their brains.

And this is why habits are so important for improving one’s life and one’s martial abilities.

Once a habit is built, it requires less and less willpower to see through. The martial artist from my story above has integrated training into his morning routine. It’s just as much of waking up as opening his eyes. For most, the act of getting up that early would be a massive expenditure of willpower, leaving little for the rest of the day. But if one can build a habit of positive action, they can reap the benefit without having to expend so much effort to make it happen each and every time.

Of course, the opposite is also true. Once a bad habit has been engrained in your brain, then breaking away from it will be difficult. It will require willpower to undo the habit and replace it with something more positive.

This relates directly to martial arts. Your training habits can really help to determine your skill as well as your attitude toward progress. There are no shortcuts, so putting the time in is mandatory. What counts is how putting the time in feels for you, how much pain you have to go through to get what you want. Whatever it is you are attempting to achieve, if you create a habit of moving toward it, your willpower is less of a issue, and there is less sacrifice. Instead, the habit of training in a certain way takes over, the habit of being at class takes over, the habit of moving toward your goals takes over.

Often, it can seem as though life is easier for some people; that they have no trouble getting up in the morning, pursuing their dreams and being excellent. My opinion is that everyone, every day, has the power of choice. Your willpower is a finite resource each day, but how you choose to apply it can have drastic ramifications on the quality and content of your life. Those who seem to “have it easy” have trained their willpower to the point (either actively or not) that it exceeds the time they have in the day. This is a fantastic state to be in – to be only limited by the amount of time you have, not by your internal resources.

What would it be like to be able to run without getting tired? What if you could train for hours without needing a break? How would you spend your time if you knew there was nothing standing between your mind and your desires?

First build the house, then live in it.

“We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence, therefore, is not an act, but a habit.”

~ Aristotle

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Acknowledge your Demons

What Do Your Demons Look Like?

What Do Your Demons Look Like?

She stands in the ring, her opponent bouncing in the corner about ten feet away. The gloves make her hands feel heavy and her hair is tightly wound into a braid that tickles the back of her neck. Sharp blue eyes focus on the task in front of her; an opponent with a two inch reach advantage and seven more professional fights to her name, all of them victories.

In a few short seconds, the bell will ring and the fight will start. She will hear little for the next three minutes, her full attention spent solely on the fists flying toward her face, and the space in which she inhabits. That which she must overcome cannot be ignored. Through either victory or defeat, this particular demonic encounter will be resolved shortly…

One of the nice things about martial arts is that you’re never really in doubt about who you’re fighting. It’s usually the guy in front of you, or the person trying to hurt you in some way. In fact, combat is quite tangible. It’s there, sometimes whether you like it or not, and must be dealt with. In short, your opponents (and therefore challenges) are usually quite, quite real.

But many of the battles that people face are completely intangible. Any fight you have with self-doubt, with self-esteem, with learning difficulty – these things cannot be seen, but are often far more dangerous than a single opponent in any arena. They can exist for years at a time, gnawing at a person’s character, twisting it into something ugly, something weak or mediocre. They are the things that stop us from reaching out potential.

Many go their entire lives, attempting to wrestle their shadows to the ground, beat them into submission and then move onto the next, improving themselves every step of the way. This is, I believe, to be a noble path. Self-improvement is the greatest challenge anyone can ever undertake, and it’s a fight that never ends. A person who can accept that their flaws will never cease, but determine to fix them anyway, is a person of integrity indeed.

So, you cannot allow your personal battles to sit in the background. Their repercussions can be felt just as much as a punch to the face. Visualize them. Be aware of their presence. Fight them with as much vigor as you would a real demon. Never, ever give up. You are fighting not for the win or for the end, but instead for the benefit of training, every day, of being more capable than you were the day before, of building strength for strength’s sake.

This is budo of the mind.

“We are each our own devil, and we make this world our hell.”

~ Oscar Wilde

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