“The world, Govinda, is not imperfect or slowly evolving along a long path to perfection. No, it is perfect at every moment; every sin already carries grace within it, all small children are potential old men, all sucklings have death within them, all dying people — eternal life.” – Herman Hesse (Siddhartha)
Despite our ambitions, we all arrive at moments of realization in regards to ourselves. It could be discovering three hours of sleep is counter productive and your quality of work could benefit from more sleep. You may find the opposite to be true, where sacrificing an hour or two of sleep may result in the extra time needed to get more done, resulting in overall less stress.. Maybe you find that despite your best intentions you have a propensity to offend others. In contrast, you allow others to walk all over you which leads to resentment due to the fact that you failed to spine up and say what you have to say which led to harboring feelings that are hateful in nature.
Regardless, we all encounter times in our life where we must look deeply within the reality of who we are, “the good, the bad and the ugly” so to speak. It’s uncomfortable, yet human and despite the fighting urge to leave things the way they are and cope, the only guarantee in life is change. To paraphrase Ari Weinzweig from A Lapsed Anarchist’s Approach To Building A Great Business “we always have problems but we can choose to have better problems”. The problem for many is that in order to have better problems, this usually means going out of the frying pan and into the fire. Meaning that in order to make any sort of meaningful or significant change there’s a good chance things are going to get worse before they get better. Take the story of Yeonmi Park, for example, who endured incomprehensible acts of brutality to escape North Korea’s communist and totalitarian regime. There are plenty of other battered women who are faced with the decision to leave their abusive husbands and go out into the unknown. While the solution is simple, it’s not at all easy to carry out. As the saying goes, if it were easy everyone would do it.
Without acceptance of “what is” it becomes impossible to move forward and grow. This is a known benefit of competition in sports for example, your inherent qualities or lack thereof, are on full display. Your truth will be known and not just to you. This is something that is hard to accept (hardly anyone will revel when it comes to losing in front of their friends and family) yet this humbling experience is for many a necessary outcome for the sake of learning to overcome our weaknesses through the process of trial and error. Those with the right mentality can over time learn to acknowledge their shortcomings or errors and seek definite and deliberate improvement. If they do desire, that is. This is what Carol Dweck refers to as a growth mindset versus a fixed mindset. I will do my best to crudely describe her genius work.
Growth mindset can be described as “I lost because I must not have given enough effort” while a fixed mindset on the other hand sounds like “I lost because I’m not fast” or whatever adjective you so choose. Unfortunately this fixed mindset is far too prevalent in today’s society, where people believe that if they lost they must be bad, rather than understanding that the lessons from sports or competition for that matter have more to do the process of improvement versus a trophy. This exposure to “failure”, as those outside the veil of Martial Arts would know it, is the quintessential purpose of the trial and error a Martial Artist endeavors to overcome. At our Jiu Jitsu academy we position true failure to our students as quitting or giving up rather than surrendering to the vehicle of improvement that is constant evolution of oneself physically, emotionally, intelligently and spiritually through Jiu Jitsu or Martial Arts.