Earlier today I was training with two fellow martial artists – both of whom are incredibly good at what they do. I’m practically new to their style, so the learning curve is large indeed.
Toward the end of the class I was given an exercise that I have never felt comfortable doing. Hint: That may mean it’s good for me.
At the same time, I am usually given minimal instruction when we do this exercise – then it’s “Ready, go.”
The two I was training with have been doing this particular drill for years – yet, it’s new to me. As of this moment, I get beat at it every single time.
And it feels downright embarrassing.
After the class I thought about the situation. I keep getting beat at this drill for three reasons;
1. Lack of knowledge – I don’t know what the others know – and they’re not exactly helping to fill in the gaps.
2. Lack of experience – I have only done this drill a few times in my life – the others have done it thousands of times.
3. No strategy – Because this drill is new to me, I lack knowledge on how to do it as well as the experience gained from having done it countless times. Without knowledge and experience, it’s hard to conceive of a battle plan, a simple strategy allowing me to play the game more effectively.
When I got home I sat on the couch.
But not to vegetate – to ruminate.
I began to think in earnest about how I keep getting beat and how much I hate it. And as I thought about it I came up with a few options:
A. Quit – this is the easy thing to do. It’ll help me avoid feelings of letdown and embarrassment – but those feelings will aire their uglness again as soon as I begin to try something else new – and it proves difficult, too.
B. Avoid – keep training but avoid this weakness. Do only the things I’m good at or feel comfortable doing. This will help me avoid feeling bad.
C. Become Fascinated – Instead of being embarrassed, start asking questions. Make no time to concentrate or think about my emotional state. Put my intention on a goal that’s worthy of achieving. Don’t let lack of direction or instruction stop me. Sit and ponder on my own and ask everyone I know who “owns” this skill for help. Put ego out of the way and make this drill a highly refined championship level skill.
In case you’re wondering, I’ll be choosing “Option C.”
Now, in case you’re wondering if I’ve ever gone through the “let down” phase before, I assure you it’s come and gone many, many times.
It’s part of learning – at least for me.
Sure, there are those “positive thinkers” who claim they have no ego, that they never feel embarrassed, etc.
All I can say is this: If you’ve ever achieved anything great, you got embarrassed along the way – and this lit a spark that helped lead you to greatness.
I don’t know a single “success” who never felt humiliated or embarrassed or horrified. Not one.
As Coach Dan Gable used to say, “The only place you start at the top is digging a hole.”
The same holds true for writing, running or river rafting. You get good by doing – AND by thinking about doing BETTER.
You picture better days. You practice so you can have better days – and eventually they will come your way.
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