Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Mindset (Part 1)

The Mind
Now, on to business. Mindset is something that is not discussed or understood as much as it should be, considering that this will determine what we accomplish in life and save us in a crisis! For example: goals. The brain is goal-oriented and without any it becomes lazy. A Harvard study in the 90's had shown that people who sat down and said their five-year plan out loud had a more likely chance of achieving their goals than people who wrote it down. They basically determined that people who write it out are thinking of how their answer looks on paper but the people saying get to hear it from their own mouth and it becomes a reality. There are many ways we can relate to this because we all have some kind of achievements (degree, promotion, black belt...).

A recent example for me is a major injury that I suffered last year. I had blown out my knee for the fourth time in a few years because I had a nagging injury that I refused to take care of and continued to re-injure. So naturally, this was as bad as it could get and, despite my stupidity, I had to acknowledge that I needed to fix this. My physio had told me that it was almost too late for my knee, but with some hard work and some time off there was a chance. Unfortunately, she refused to commit to a time-frame because of the severity of the injury. I'll admit that I went into a panic. I had no goal! There was nothing to do but go through the rehab and wait. I told myself that I would stay positive, but after the first two months with very little reward and no end in site, my mind weakened. I couldn't figure it out because I was working full-time at getting better and couldn't get results. By the third month I was just miserable and I used my self-pity to justify a terrible diet and excessive drinking. The one thing I managed to keep during this mild depression was my work ethic toward my rehab. A bad diet and booze slows your healing so the progress suffered, which upset me more. Then I decided that I couldn't keep this up anymore and started thinking about finding a new goal; one that didn't involve my knee. I decided that when I was healthy again I would go back to teaching martial arts as soon as I felt like I was in good enough shape. In order to generate some interest, I would need a website to get my name out there. Unfortunately, I knew nothing about building a website. At this point, I had become so miserable that no one was really in a hurry to spend time with me so I had plenty of time to read and learn all these new programs. This distracted me from getting discouraged and self-destructive. I worked hard at both my physio and my website and the next few months flew by! I got to a point where my physio was giving me homework and a light training program to slowly get back in shape without pushing my knee too far. All said and done, I was sitting on my ass for about seven months! It took a little more than a month to get over the embarrassment of what kind of shape I was in to start a regular training program. The website was up and, despite not being the greatest site out there, it did its job and people were interested in training with me. I started training everyday with the support of my training partners and a good attitude. I dropped 30 pounds in no time and was training full time again! It was a long journey, but I got a chance to dig deep and see how important our mindset really is. It feels good to be training with my Sensei on a regular basis and teaching my own classes again, but I also know that my mind is stronger and if it all got taken away for some reason, I would prevail and find something else to make my life. That's a reassuring place to be and I feel fortunate for this experience!

Combative Application
Hope I didn't lose anyone but saying that I felt fortunate for an injury, but a blessing can come disguised as a curse! Anyway, hope you enjoyed the first part and we hope you enjoy "Mindset Part 2", where we explore how I can adapt this long journey of self-discovery and healing into punching someone in the face a little bit better...

P.S. Running was a big part of dropping weight and getting back in shape after the injury and if anyone wants a little more on this click here.

1 comment:

Cloakk said...

Word. It's like trying to learn how to punch, without ever having targets. All you are doing is flailing your arms...