Let’s face it – life’s a battle and you need to be prepared. Whether you’re closing a deal with the CEO of a Fortune 500 company or negotiating nap-time with a four-year-old, you need a plan. You’re going to be more successful if you know your opponent’s strengths and breaking point as well as your own. Is 15 minutes of crying all you can stand? Or how about 5 minutes of absolute silence from a client you’re trying to sell? Can you get the toddler to bed or get the client’s signature on the dotted line before you crack? That’s the secret. Know yourself. Know your opponent. Begin your own development with this personal formation workshop and develop a strategy to succeed.
One of the dominating influences in my life has been the martial arts. Since 1967 I have studied several forms of martial arts: Jujutsu, Kung Fu and Tae Kwon Do, my favorite sport. There are four origins for both the soft and hard martial arts:
- Chinese martial arts which are rooted more in theory and many styles are patterned after the movement of animals such as the monkey and the crane
- Japanese styles which are rooted in the tradition of the Samurai
- Pacific Rim styles which encompass many aspects of the previous three
- Korean styles like Tae Kwon Do, which originated from military training.
There are many, many different types of fighting systems which have been developed over the centuries. Some were practiced by religious groups, others were developed and studied by warriors. Still others, like Karate, were developed as personal defense systems for common people. Each combat system has its own history, philosophy and approach to battle, but they all focus in some way or another on the importance of discipline, strategy and planning.
My Own Personal Formation Journey
In the mid 80’s I began studying theology and counseling and got involved in psychometrics, which is the testing of the mind. I completed my certification in a number of areas in psychometrics and am a Certified Professional Behavioral Analyst, a Certified Master Motivational Trainer as well as being qualified as a Myers-Briggs trainer. The biggest part of my career has been devoted to learning and teaching others how to understand and communicate with others. These disciplines, which may seem as far apart as east is from west, have a common foundation: understanding yourself and your opponent. The implications of understanding behavior and behavior types can help you to build relationships, improve communications and develop meaningful and fulfilling career paths. These are the goals of LifeThrive, a powerful program I designed to combine the wisdom of ancient fighting systems with the latest developments in psychology. Together these two fields of study provide all the tools you need for your own journey into Personal Formation.
I’m often asked how I've benefited from my background in the martial arts and behavioral studies. There’s no simple answer, but if I had to arrange the advantages in a few categories, I would choose three: direction, discipline and duty.
Giving Life Direction
I don’t know about you, but there have been many times when I’ve wished someone would tell me what to do, or give me some direction. But there’s a problem when someone else gives you direction. It’s their direction, not yours. A friend’s advice includes their biases and prejudices. When I decided that I wanted to make significant changes in my life, I found that I needed to develop an internal compass to help keep me on the course I had chosen.
The martial arts make me reevaluate myself constantly. Every time I put on training or competition uniforms I am forced to look deep inside and understand my weaknesses. At the same time I need to determine how I can use my assets - we all have them – to compensate for my weaknesses. In every training or competition I am alone and can only follow one direction – my own.
You’ve heard the sayings, “Go with the flow” and “Do your own thing”. Many people criticize these expressions saying they indicate selfishness or a lack of ambition. I disagree. In fact, I think these two expressions are so powerful, so meaningful, that they are actually words to live by.
Go with the flow, your own flow, and become the unique human being you were meant to be. Don’t do anybody’s “thing” but your own and you will develop that internal compass you need to guide you on your path to success and happiness.
I have always needed discipline to stay on track. I think we all do. Practicing the martial arts is a commitment to constant self-evaluation and improvement. A serious student practices every day to keep his body strong and his mind focused. As a result of my martial arts training I have learned how to develop good work and play habits.
Do you wish there were more hours in the day? It’s a question I always ask in my seminars. Most people answer yes. My next question is, “What would you do with more time?” Unfortunately, most people realize they are wishing for more hours because there isn’t enough time in the day for them to finish their work. I know that there are enough hours in the day for work and play. Balance is the key. Harmony and balance are at the heart of martial arts training.
Discipline is not a bad thing. Once you have developed some self-discipline, you’ll quickly see how much easier it is to stay focused on the direction you have set for yourself.
Personal Responsibility and Duty
Develop an ethical sense of responsibility to yourself and others. Don’t fall into the trap of giving priority to your job or your responsibilities to others. Duty to one’s self must be the highest priority.
Does that sound selfish to you? It really isn’t. Think about what you have to offer someone if you’re uncertain, unhappy or feeling unfulfilled. How much help or support can you offer to those who need you? If you’re not able to meet your own needs, it’s almost a certainty you won’t be able to meet someone else’s. As you become stronger – intellectually, physically and mentally – you have more to offer to those who need your help and support. Take care of yourself first.
I believe that we are all unique beings, created for a special purpose. No two people have the same talents and gifts. I’ve talked with a lot of career planners and guidance counselors, and the first question they ask their clients is, “What do you enjoy doing most?” The counselor’s job is to help people understand what makes them happy and then steer them in a career path that best fits their talents.
When we fulfill our duty to ourselves we develop our attitude and character. We can operate at peak levels of performance and contentment.
Preparing for Battle
When I step onto the mat for training or sparring, the outcome of the match is determined as much by my mental preparedness as it is by my physical readiness. Properly assessing my opponent is critical to the outcome. It is not enough merely to recognize the opponent's differences. To win the match, I must understand and respect the differences. And that intellectual battle is more difficult than the physical confrontation at hand because it means I have to sacrifice a little of my ego in order to show respect for my opponent.
Eastern philosophy recognizes the importance of training the mind and body as a unit. No fighter can reach his full potential without accepting that doctrine. And the training is a delicate balancing act. For the fighter to reach his full potential, he must be open to the fact that his opponent has unique differences in style that make him extraordinary. A fighter who has the courage to respect his opponent strengthens his position. That momentary surrender provides him with all the elements he needs to win. This is the fighter who will always be victorious. Even a physical defeat becomes a triumph because the contestant takes away something new from the experience and his life is enriched by that experience.
There are many people involved in the martial arts who believe that the
Like the martial arts student, you are about to enter the Do-Jang, or school. Be prepared to challenge your mind and body. You are about to embark on a journey toward personal excellence. LifeThrive provides an opportunity to increase your understanding and knowledge. Your commitment to the process determines how beneficial the program will be to you.
Spirituality and The Martial Arts
Unlike many others in the field, I don’t believe there is anything spiritual about practicing the martial arts. Historically, the martial arts began 4000 years ago as training for the military. The warriors were taught to kill or be killed.
In the 1970’s there was a television show called Kung Fu in which the lead character, a martial artist, was mentally transported into another realm, or state of consciousness, each time he was confronted by an opponent. I think this show caused a lot of people to form a contorted idea about the martial arts. Yes, learning the martial arts involves learning how to prepare mentally for a confrontation; but that preparation has more to do with discerning your opponent’s weaknesses so that you can use them against him or her. I believe, too, that practicing the martial arts involves training your mind and honing your concentration skills; but I don’t believe there is anything spiritual about that.
For me, there is nothing more spiritual about the martial arts than there is about football. It is an acquired skill that tests your physical and mental strength. I do, however, believe that there are spiritual implications about everything we do. All of our actions determine our outlook, our attitude and the enduring legacy we leave behind.
The Changing Battlefield
Before you get to work changing the things that will help you the most, you need to understand where we are today and how we got here. With the increases in technology, information seems to be doubling every two years. Soon our information base will be doubling monthly, then weekly. In many cases we are being provided with more information than we need. Today, advances in computer technology are so fast that you've no more finished paying through the nose for that latest and greatest computer than it's become obsolete! Take a few minutes to look at the growth and change of mankind:
|Tools fashioned||4000 BC|
|Wheel is created||3500 BC (estimated)||500 years|
|Written language||3500 BC (estimated)|
|First coins||700 BC||3000 years|
|Counted to 5 positions||200 AD|
|Oldest printed book||800 AD|
|Gutenburg Press||1455 AD||600 years|
|Aircraft||1903 AD||40+ years|
|Birth of psychology||1902-11 AD|
|Theory of relativity||1912 AD|
|Man on the moon||1969 AD||22 years|
|Apple 1 computer||1976 AD||9 years|
|Computer hard drives||1979 AD||3 years|
|Pentium 200 MgHtz||1996 AD||Months|
|Gigabits standard||1997 AD|
|MMX Technology||1997 AD|
As you can see, people used to have time to adjust to changes. Things happened at a slower, almost evolutionary pace. Now, change is revolutionary. Technology changes our lives daily, and sometimes hourly. Our period of adjustment is almost nonexistent.
LifeThrive is the cutting edge of mental technology and provides the finest methods and techniques available for you to improve your life at an amazing pace. The process will show you how to prepare your mind, body and spirit for life's challenges. You're going to discover and understand who you are and what makes you do the things you do. You're going to improve your attitude and take control of your life. LifeThrive will teach you the secret of success - not the secret to making lots of money - the secret to attaining real personal and, ultimately, professional success.
If you think the secret to success is money, the answers to the following questions may surprise you. Do you know who, in 1923, was:
- 1. President of the largest steel company? Charles Schwab, who died a pauper.
- 2. President of the New York Stock Exchange? Richard Whitney died at home after being released from prison.
- 3. The greatest wheat speculator? Arthur Cooger was destitute when he died while living abroad.
- 4. The Great Bear of Wall Street? The Greatest Bear of Wall Street, Cosabee Rivermore, committed suicide.
These men were considered some of the world's most successful men - at least they knew the secret of making money. It seems there must have been a few secrets they didn't know. LifeThrive will provide you with the tools for a balanced life - something these men obviously didn't understand.
It's time to begin. Join us over the next Five days for our Personal Development Workshop, Right here on our our blog. Please feel free to ask questions and get involved. Part 1 Posted tomorrow at 9am EST.