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What a Karate Weapon Taught Me About Achieving Big Goals

What a Karate Weapon Taught Me About Achieving Big Goals
    Photo credit: T4LLBERG (CC BY-SA 2.0)

    When I used to watch martial artists with various weaponry, I was always amazed with their skills. The way they spun and manipulated their weapons was nothing short of magical to my eyes. It wasn’t long before I started training with martial arts weaponry myself.

    One of these weapons was the bo staff, which is like a long stick. Although perhaps one of the more basic weapons (since it really is only a stick), the bo staff can be manipulated in all sorts of impressive ways. But when I first started to use a bo staff, it was absolutely brutal.

    I was so clumsy with it; I often ended up hitting myself on the head, my elbows, knees and shins. And since the bo staff is a long weapon, I needed to have ample room to train with it. Initially when I tried to use it indoors, I ended up poking holes in the ceiling and walls. And this is when the lessons began.

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    Lesson 1: Big Goals, Too Distant

    Because of the lack of room indoors, I had to take my bo staff training outdoors. I was still at my clumsy stage as mastery of this karate weapon seemed like something that was too far off in the distance.

    Sometimes my neighbors would be watching me as I tried to work on various techniques outside with my bo staff. I could just imagine them shaking their heads as they wondered why I was going through such torture beating myself up with this long stick. But despite my difficulties, I didn’t give up.

    Indeed, many of our big goals in life are like this. They seem to be so distant that we wonder if achieving them would ever become possible at all. But we don’t give up with the hopes that we can reach them.

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    Lesson 2: Expand Comfort Zones Little By Little

    I started out with some of the more easy and basic moves. Then as I got better, I added more technical and difficult moves with my bo staff. I was expanding my own comfort zone little by little with each training day. I slowly worked on the techniques I was not very comfortable with. Over time, something magical happened.

    In essence, the bo staff, my body, mind and spirit all started to merge together into one unit, much like the martial artists I had admired for their weaponry skills. I started to get good enough with the bo staff that I was able to perform a routine (or martial arts weapons form) that started to win in competitions.

    Since I was originally not skilled with the bo staff, my comfort zone with it was pretty well just standing there holding it without doing anything too fancy. I was only able to learn how to use it with more complex maneuvers when I slowly expanded my comfort zone each day with it.

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    Lesson 3: Big Goals, Same Approach

    What this karate weapon taught me was that this same approach could be used for all big goals in life.  They could be goals related to business, career, school, health or even martial arts weaponry (like in my case). It didn’t matter how remote it seemed, but by slowly expanding your comfort zone in the process, big goals can be achieved.

    All big goals require the mastery of different skills, which are outside of your comfort zone at first. By slowly expanding your comfort zone a bit each day to work on these skills, you will eventually accomplish what you had hoped for.

    Conclusion

    The bo staff has since become part of my motivation and diversity keynote presentations as it sets me apart from other professional speakers. So even though I’m retired from martial arts competition, the bo staff is still very much a part of my life. It helps me demonstrate the important principle of expanding comfort zones for any big goals that people may have.

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    It is truly a great weapon to have in my arsenal.

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    Last Updated on June 26, 2019

    I Hate My Life: 10 Things You Can Do Now to Stop Hating Life

    I Hate My Life: 10 Things You Can Do Now to Stop Hating Life

    Hating life is a bit of a misnomer it seems: in the media, in education, in every aspect of our lives, we’re shown visions of a perfect world, one where everyone is happy and life is a decades-long dream. Unfortunately, it isn’t.

    Life can and is hard and tough and painful at times. I have first-hand experience of this: at this time years ago, I was a recent university graduate, unemployed and aimless. All of this was having a knock-on effect on my social and mental wellbeing—I wasn’t sleeping. I wasn’t seeing my friends as often. I was snappy to family members and I could barely drag myself out of bed in the morning…

    That doesn’t mean it can’t change.

    Life goes through ebbs and flows all the time and the key to getting through it all without cutting off your social circle and eating your local grocery store out of Ben & Jerry’s, is to cultivate some techniques and methods of going through life with some stability and grace. It’s not a guarantee against life’s hardships but, take the steps you want to use and you won’t hate life.

    If you want to stop hating your life and start falling in love with it, take these steps:

    1. Get Plenty of Sleep

    Seriously, you’re obviously going to be grouchy and more inclined towards the more miserable side, if you’re not getting your recommended seven or more hours of sleep a night.

    Start checking in how much you sleep and then start making steps to go to bed earlier and sleep for longer. It might cure every problem but at least you’ll be well-rested and less likely to nap throughout the day. If you having trouble getting to sleep, go and

    2. Eat Healthily

    I have had a real issue with eating healthily for years and it wasn’t until I was hospitalised a few years ago (for a condition unrelated to my eating for the sake of disclosure), that I really started to look at what I ate and how I viewed my body.

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    I’m absolutely an advocate of body positivity and loving your body at any size and while I haven’t lost any huge amount of weight, eating a hell of a lot healthier improved my mood and made me feel better.

    In short, it’s absolutely okay to have a pizza and a soda as a treat, but just have something healthier tomorrow.

    3. Write It All Down

    Sometimes the best thing you can do is let it all out. Keeping things that are making you hate life all bottled up is neither helpful to getting out of that cycle nor healthy for your overall wellbeing.

    Grab yourself a notebook, a journal, a diary, a bit of paper, whatever, and just start writing down how you feel. As soon as you’ve done that, start thinking about what you could do in theory to stop this from happening or to stop you from feeling like this.

    4. Get Some Fresh Air

    It’s underrated and we all take it for granted, but really, getting out of your home and going for a walk can be really beneficial. It gets you outside in the (hopefully) sunshine and getting to see the whole of life as you walk around can be really grounding and calming.

    Believe me, if you’re stuck inside mulling over on the bad things of your life, grab a pair of sneakers and go for a walk. Plus, it’s free. Can’t say better than that, can you?

    5. Get Some Exercise

    This is practically a Part II of the previous step, but as someone who used to look at the gym as something people did when they were feeling particularly masochistic, I can actually say I enjoy it now.

    You don’t even have to subscribe to a fancy gym—go for a run around the block with your headphones in or lift some heavy boxes to build up muscle tone.

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    Bonus: Doing all that heavy lifting of boxes or incorporating exercise into chores will make your house cleaner and look even more awesome, as well as making you look and feel better.

    6. Treat Yourself

    Hating your life can be exhausting, and I mean that literally. It drains the energy from you until all you want to do is lie in bed with a pint of ice cream and the last five seasons of a TV show on Netflix.

    Therefore, a good thing to keep your spirits up can be to treat yourself.

    Life is too short, after all, to deny yourself some treats. Go see that movie that looks awesome in the cinema, grab a gelato with a friend, paint your nails, whatever makes you happy, do it. You deserve it.

    Here’re more ideas to inspire you: 30 Ways To Treat Yourself No Matter What

    7. Cut out Those Negative Triggers

    Chances are that if you hate life, something is setting off those triggers in your head. Until you’re able to deal with them without turning all misanthropic, the best thing might be just to get rid of all of those negative triggers.

    If you’re suffering from what AllGroanUp refer to as “Obsessive Comparison Disorder” (i.e. obsessively checking out the lifestyles of all your “successful” friends), then stop using Facebook and Twitter as much.

    Social media can be a fantastic way to connect, but it can be also be a toxic environment for neuroses and comparisons to breed.

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    Trust me, I know. If it sets you off, cut it out.

    8. Dance

    Yes you can dance. No, really, you can. It doesn’t matter if you’re not some breakdancing dynamo or ballroom extraordinaire, everyone can dance. It’s programmed into the human race, the ultimate expression of emotion.

    Dance like no one’s watching, dance like you don’t care. Tap your feet, sway your hips, go as mad or as wild as you want to to your favourite songs. Nothing quite shakes the cobwebs off than losing yourself in rhythm and dance to a song you love.

    9. Get Organized

    A great way to start moving forward and looking at what you can change in your life to make it better, is to get organized.

    Spend a weekend going through your home and clearing the unnecessary stuff out of it. Get rid of the stuff you don’t need or don’t want anymore and start to give everything a space.

    It doesn’t have to look like it’s stepped off the pages of Good Housekeeping, but clearing a lot of space and making sure that your home has a bit of harmony can do wonders for your mental wellbeing.

    10. Pay It Forward

    Life is a mystery and it can be a minefield to get through. Sometimes you stumble, sometimes you fall. The important part is to pick yourself back up and keep walking forward.

    Paying it forward is simply helping others. Charity is something that is often thrown around as an accessory to human behavior—how many celebrities have you read about who have done something heinous, but are defended by the phrase “but [they] do charity work”?

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    Go volunteer! If you think you’re at breaking point, go help other people.

    People in the world out there will be going through the same things that you are going through; and while you might not run into someone who’s going through the exact same circumstances, you will be helping people who need help.

    Helping out a soup kitchen, or at a church bake sale, or at a homeless shelter or wherever needs help, can make a huge difference to the lives of those individuals involved. And believe me, it’ll do a hell of a lot for your state of mind .

    A great idol of mine, Audrey Hepburn, once stated that we have two hands: one for helping ourselves, and one for helping others. That’s a fantastic sentiment and one I think will help people who hate their live.

    If you go and help other people, you’re having such a positive ripple effect on the world that some of it will come back to you one way or another, and it will get better.

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    Featured photo credit: Unsplash via unsplash.com

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