Friday, July 23, 2010

Why do we love to see people fail so much?

I was just reading comments on Lindsay Lohan's jail time for violating probation on a DUI charge.

So many people seemed so happy to see her spend time in jail. Why? I am far from the world's biggest LL fan, and there are a large number of Hollywood personas I would add to that list (Mel just got added recently). However, it begs the question: why are we so glad when others fail? Are we jealous? Vain? Does it appeal to our fragile sense of self to see other more successful people brought back down to Earth? What do you think?

It is my sincere hope that those of us who have found The Way have used this to go beyond such pettiness. We should feel sorry for those of weak character; sorry for those surrounded by people who do not protect them and keep them grounded. There are many ways to fall from grace, and I am sure it is hard to deal with the difficulties of fame and fortune, just as it is hard to deal with not having them.

My advice to everyone is to keep on training. Always keep training, and have faith that good teachers and a good school will help us all see the importance of the smaller things in life.

My original teacher gave me a puzzle once. he drew two parallel lines of equal length on a piece of paper with a pencil. he said "How can I make one line longer than the other?" I replied instantly. "You can take a pencil and draw more onto one line." He agreed. But then he pointed out "Can I not also make one line longer by erasing part of the other line?" He continued, "Be careful that you never make your line longer than another person's by erasing their line. This is not the spirit of The Way."

I have never forgotten his lesson, and we are all wise to bear it in mind. Let's focus on our own lines and make them longer through our training.


36 Ways to Make a Positive Impression in Less Than 10 Seconds

saw this online and had to share it...note that martial arts training will help develop many of these habits. I count about half of the below that are part of life in a good martial arts school.



36 Ways to Make a Positive Impression in Less Than 10 Seconds

Posted on May 3rd, 2010 by Todd Smith

There are literally hundreds if not thousands of little things we can do to raise the bar in our professional and personal lives. So many of these things are easy to do and can be accomplished in less than 10 seconds. They just require an intentional effort.

What is CRITICAL to understand is that your ultimate success, fulfillment and happiness will come from doing the little things that matter.

As entrepreneur and best selling author Harvey Mackay said, “Little things don’t mean a lot. They mean everything.”

Here is a short list of 36 things you can do in less than 10 seconds that will make you a better person, enhance your self-image and improve the quality of your life.

1. Make it a point to say the words ”I love you” to the people in your home every single day.
2. Offer a friendly authentic smile- a great smile radiates warmth, puts people at ease and makes you likable.
3. Make comfortable eye contact- your eyes send messages; establishing and maintaining eye contact with people demonstrates confidence, respect, and genuine interest.
4. Use someone’s name – everyone likes to hear and see his or her name.
5. Acknowledge people- smile and say hi to the people around you.
6. Express your appreciation- say “thank you” to everyone who does something for you even if they are paid to do it.
7. Be unselfish and put others first- it could be as simple as holding the door open for someone.
8. Offer a word of encouragement- sometimes this is all a person needs to build confidence and take the next big step. This is big!
9. Accept responsibility when you are wrong- it’s the sign of a person with character.
10. Be friendly- it lifts the attitude of others and is the #1 factor in being likable.
11. Maintain a positive mental attitude- your attitude is a choice and that choice is 100% within your control.
12. Be kind and considerate- to people you know as well as strangers.
13. Be like a dog and be the first to greet people- it helps new people entering the room feel more comfortable and demonstrates your interest in them.
14. Offer people you meet a warm greeting- this will set the tone for the entire encounter.
15. Say please- make it a habit to use the word please EVERY TIME you ask someone to do something for you even if they are paid to do it.
16. Get up and walk into the other room to speak to someone, rather than yelling.
17. Put the toilet seat down.
18. Turn your head and cover your mouth when you sneeze or cough.
19. Improve your body posture- poor posture is an indication of low self-esteem.
20. Say goodbye- make a good last impression.
21. Offer a proper handshake- a good, firm handshake demonstrates confidence and makes a good impression.
22. Give someone a hug- a hug is a sign that you really care for the other person.
23. Proof your email, text or post- this is an important component of portraying a professional online brand.
24. Click the LIKE button on someone’s Facebook post- it’s an easy way to demonstrate interest.
25. Turn off your phone in meetings- even though your phone may not make sounds, your eyes and attention will be diverted from the other people in attendance and your lack of attention demonstrates disrespect.
26. Repeat your phone number twice when leaving a voicemail- speaking slowly and repeating your phone number will make you stand out.
27. When scheduling appointments use the other person’s time zone- this avoids misunderstandings or missed opportunities.
28. Speak with life and energy in your voice- no one likes to be around people who are “dead, dull and lifeless.”
29. Walk with a bounce in your step- it’s evidence of an energetic attitude that ultimately leads to success.
30. Turn off the notifications that are bugging those around you.
31. Write things down- it prevents you from forgetting things that are important.
32. Say something positive to others about another person- reverse gossip.
33. Congratulate your opponent- good sportsmanship is evidence of leadership.
34. Introduce yourself- be proactive and introduce yourself to people whom you have never met.
35. Look for the good in others and tell them what you see- you have the ability to bring out the best in people, especially when they may not know it themselves.
36. Hold in that fart- the pain will go away in less than 10 seconds.

As you can see, each of these tips is easy to do. They don’t require any formal education or financial investment. We can begin to incorporate them into our lives this very minute. All we need is to be conscious of them and be willing to take 10 seconds to do them.

Let me encourage you to print out this list and put an asterisk beside the ones you are committed to working on. Track your results and see how you do.

This is just a small sampling of the things we can do in less than 10 seconds to make a positive impression on others. What are some other simple things we can do in less than 10 seconds? I look forward to reading them in the comments section below this post.

About the Author: Todd Smith is a successful entrepreneur of 29 years and founder of Little Things Matter.

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Tuesday, July 20, 2010

What does "Osu" mean?

(thanks to Diana for the question)

Many people have heard "Osu!" in various martial arts schools. Some students even say "Osu!" without really understanding what it is about. Here's how "Osu!" is used:

1) Greeting
"Osu!" is generally said to any higher ranking belt (especially dan ranks and instructors) whenever meeting them.

2) Acknowledgment
"Osu!" is the response to any order or feedback given. It is the response a student gives whenever any instructor announces a technique or the start of a drill, or anytime an instructor corrects a student's technique.

3) An expression of commitment (Kiai)
"Osu!" is used anytime you count out a drill for the last rep. It is also an expression of concentrated intention in the way a kiai is done in other martial arts.

OK, fine. But why "Osu!" and not "Hai-Ya!" (or any other random sound)?

Traditional Martial Arts and Militarism
Many of the traditional arts (especially aikido) have very close ties to militaristic expression in Japan. It is customary to greet senior soldiers (NCO and officers) with "Osu!" much in the way it is used in Yoshinkan aikido. This may be a shortened form of "Ohayo Gozaimasu" which is now extended to be an acknowledgment and compliance with whatever the speaker has said. Much of the post-war martial arts training in Japan is very closely linked to right-wing (and, indirectly, to support of the Emperor). Yoshinkan itself is closely linked to the Tokyo Metro Police Force, which is also a very right-wing organization.

Hard Training
"Osu" is also said to be comprised of the character for push "osu" and the character for perseverance "nin". This is a reminder to train hard, and early Yoshinkan disciples trained very hard indeed. We honor their spirit and commitment to training whenever we say "osu!". It recognizes our intention to train just as hard as they did, and to follow their example of "shugyo".

More to add? Let me know.

See you in class.


Friday, July 02, 2010

Get Out of Your Zone

I am talking about your comfort zone.

Most of us have real trouble pushing the boundries of our lives. We are creatures of habit; of routine. We find a pattern and we stick to it. This can apply to our jobs, our relationships, our eating/sleeping/drinking habits and, of course, our training habits.

It is called a "comfort zone" for precisely that reason. We are comfortable there and generally unwilling to venture far away from that. As I have mentioned in previous posts, habits can be a critical help to your training and your health when you establish positive routines and make them into habits. These can be dietary such as drinking enough water daily, getting enough sleep, or controling your calorie intake. They can be mental habits such as dispelling negative thoughts, goalsetting, and listening. They can be training habits such as focusing during class, keeping energy level high, and expecting the most from each class.

This is all good, but we need to be always mindful of the fact that quantum leaps forward in ability very often happen when we get out of our comfort zone - we adapt, we adjust, we explore, we challenge, we investigate. These are a vital part of your training and should be a vital part of every aspect of your happy and successful life.

Martial arts is so important for this. The dojo is a controlled environment where you can push your boundries and discover new abilities. In every class you become able to do things you couldn't do before and develop new understanding. With good teachers in a good dojo, you are made to safely get out of your comfort zone and build your confidence level.

Aaron's blog had a great quote:

"If you want something you never had, you must do something you never did"

Very true. Make today the day you push beyond your limits. Surprise yourself.

See you in class.