"Bigger is not always better when it comes to bowstrings. However, if it is too thin then your arrowheads will not stick in anything." Tsukahara Bokuden, The Hundred Rules of War
Most of us aren't running around with bow and arrow on a regular basis, so how in the world is this applicable today?
Read the quote again and replace "bowstrings" for "character" and "arrowheads" for "words".
Let that simmer for a bit.
Want to see a change this week? Go without.
Folks who know me well know that I practice intermittent fasting. I'll bore you with all of the details later if you want, but it's not always for nutrition/fitness...
Sometimes I'll go 24-48 hours without eating because I can. No, I'm not being a tough guy or anything like that. What I mean by "I can" is this:
I live in a affluent nation where I can choose to go a day or two without food.
I can go a day or two without food because I know that when I'm ready, I can find something to eat.
I can choose to go to bed hungry.
I can choose to wake up hungry.
I can choose to go to work hungry and I can choose to train in the dojo hungry.
I can choose to do this. For literally millions across the globe, the idea of going to bed hungry or going to work/school hungry is a way of life...not a choice. So sometimes I like to put myself in their shoes (as much as I can) and feel what it's like to go without.
Note...I'm not a doctor so I can't recommend you to fast for an extended period of time; especially in our litigious culture. However, I can say that going without (food, or technology, or your car, or something) can be a deeply emotional and spiritual endeavor.
Is there something that you can go without, for just a day or two this week that would be a meaningful sacrifice?
You know the answer is "yes".
Let's have an awesome week!
For a relatively short week (had Monday off) it sure seems like a doggone marathon. Haven't always been grateful, but I:
- appreciate the small group of men that sacrifice sleep in order to faithfully meet together each Friday morning.
- am thankful for the way that two of my students took criticism as a means to positive change.
- am thankful for my health, and the ability to train regularly.
- am indebted to my family for their sacrifices which allow me to run the dojo.
- have been overwhelmed by the generosity of others.
- am incredibly proud of the hard work, and positive attitude that my students show day in and day out.
- have been consistently reminded of how blessed I am.
That's just a start. What's been going on this week to spark gratitude in you? Have you shared that thankfulness with others? It's not too late!
Oh, I'm also thankful that the weekend is just about here. Hope yours is a great one!
"It does not matter whether you are firing at an enemy near you or an opponent some distance away, you should be adept at selecting the the best arrowhead." The Hundred Rules of War
This one builds nicely on the topic from last week in that, for the vast majority of us, our words are our greatest weapon. We use different speech for our closest friends; our inner circle, than we typically use for casual acquaintances. Whether the conversation is encouraging or corrective, we have different words for different folks.
Think you don't have enemies? Deep down inside, how do you feel or respond when criticism is brought to you? How do you react when someone shares a corrective observation? Maybe it's just me, but I take it as a personal attack. Not bragging. In fact, it's one of my many great flaws. Historically, I've not done well with choosing the best arrowhead when responding at times like that. It's something that I definitely need to work on.
This literally just crossed my mind:
What's the difference between a good friend and a vile enemy sharing the same criticism? Intent. That's it. The friend means to build you up. The enemy means to tear you down. It's all in the intent...and THAT is exactly where I mess up. How about you? Do you find yourself assuming the intent of the person speaking to you? Emailing you? Texting you? If they're a close friend, shouldn't we always assume that their intention is to make us better? If that's the case, let's try to choose the perfect arrowhead (word) as our response.
Let's keep it simple. One key to make this week one of the best ever. Let's also keep it simple by revisiting a key from a few weeks ago.
This week, be obnoxiously grateful. Express that gratitude to others. More important...express your thankfulness FOR others.
The more I train, the more I believe that stretching is what keeps me functional throughout the day. A quick stretch routine early in the morning has been helpful!
Trying to "be there" more. It's definitely a struggle to change habits and mindsets that have developed over the months and years. I've tried, with limited success, to unplug and have found that when I do, my presence is more felt.
As far as poetry reading has gone...I keep going back to an old favorite: Ozymandias. It helps keep me humble, realizing that when I'm gone, I won't be able to take anything with me, but odds are a few of my words may be remembered.
Have an awesome, wacky weather weekend (for my DC Metro friends).
"When selecting arrowhead, long thin ones are best because these will pass out the other side of the target they strike."
Each tool has a specific purpose. When we use them for their intended purpose, great things happen. With the rule for this week (from The Hundred Rules of War) we are reminded to choose our tools carefully.
In a fight, each technique should have a purpose. The more techniques, or tools, you have, the better.
Truth is, we're always in a fight. Except most of the time we're not worried about which punch to throw. No, in the daily grind the fight is more about choosing the right words, or posture, of facial expression.
Words, like arrowheads, can go right through your target, or they can stick. Combine the wrong word with a lack of eye contact, and you've got a recipe for disaster. I'm honestly terrible at this. The hardest part is that recovery from an ill-timed word often takes a lot longer than an ill-placed punch. Oi! Some days I'd rather just get back in the ring with Anatoly Polyakov or Bazooka Joe and get beat up again.
But, we keep fighting.
Here are your 3Keys for the week!
1.) Stretch in the morning. Just 5 minutes somewhere in your morning routine will work wonders. You'll feel better immediately. Might mean getting up a couple of minutes early.
2.) Be there. We all have at least one item on our schedule where we usually check out mentally. Look ahead and plan. Whatever that event is this week (a class, meeting, etc.) be all there. Commit yourself to making that time as productive for everyone attending.
3.) Read poetry. Poetry will reach you in a way that's different that fiction or history. If you're completely lost and don't know what to look for, contact me. There's something out there for everyone!
Easy week this week. Be generous. Each day, give away three things. How have you done? Were you more willing to give away some of your time? Did you share more than usual? Did you buy something with the sole intent to give it away?
When you found yourself being generous, what did you feel? Anything different? Anything like what this guy says?
Having is great. Giving is better.
Have an awesome, generous weekend!
”You should enter the field of battle with your bow set to a higher draw weight.” Tsukahara Bokuden
When I step into the dojo, I’m ready to go. Sure, there may be a few jokes (some of them good even) and laughter, there is a mission each day...and I make sure that I’m prepared.
Prepping for a fight or a tournament, you want to make sure your training sets you up to be as successful as possible. Again, you’ve got a mission...be make sure you’re ready!
The fact of the matter is that most of us don’t fight, or train in a dojo. However, I bet you that the most successful people in every field are those that are most prepared. Successful students have great study habits and put the work in BEFORE the test. Great teachers plan and put together the lesson BEFORE class starts. Those in business know that the work you do today is really to set up a successful tomorrow.
Look ahead. What’s coming at you in the next week or so? What can you do now so that you enter that experience as ready as possible?
Keeping it simple, but adding a new challenge this week. Really, we’relooking at one key for the week in 3 parts.
Motivated by by the tragedy of a friend, our key for the week is to give away three things each day. Anything counts, except the flu. Seriously, if you give me the flu I will have to hurt you.
Each day, give three items away. A piece of gum. Part of your meal. That shirt that you know you haven’t worn in months or years. The bread maker that you’ve never taken out of the box. All of that stuff would be a blessing to someone around you.
So, it’s probably the simplest weekly challenge so far in 2018, but presents something a little different. Post your story. How does your giving, great or small, bless someone else?
It's funny...every week has the exact same number of hours and minutes, but I'll be darned if some weeks don't seem longer than others. Honestly though, one of the greatest blessings this week was getting up a half hour (at least) early each morning.
Was it easy? Heck-to-the-naw, but totally worthwhile. That chunk of extra, undistracted time before the sun comes up gave me just enough of an edge before moving into the regular schedule for the day. I was able to read, run errands, and take care of a few other tasks that are normally crammed into the busyness of the morning. Thirty minutes to help stretch the routine out was a lot more beneficial than I thought it would be.
Can I pull it off on the weekend? Man...THAT is going to be tough!
Have a great one!