Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Once I thought I was wrong, but I was Mistaken

"There are no mistakes. There are only happy accidents" - Bob Ross

It's tough to be alive in this modern day and age.  The pressure is enormous.
From the time we are barely able to stand, we are measured.  We are taught that there is only ever a single right answer, and that we can never make mistakes.  Everything we do has a number or a grade or percentile associated with it.  In school everything is graded; at work everything is measured with "key performance indicators".  Any little mistake involves reams of paperwork, re-training, lectures, complaining and on and on and on.  Fear of making a mistake is a major cause of workplace anxiety.

I submit that the very best lessons I have learned in my life have not been from my successes but from my mistakes.  It can be argued that the severity of the repercussions for even little things I did wrong has led to a "punishment-avoidance" mentality that yielded performance improvements.  However, I think I have learned a lot even from mistakes nobody knew about except me.

The only way to achieve success in life is to take some controlled amounts of risk.  That always involves a chance of mistakes.  In fact, they are highly likely.  Fear of mistakes will mean fear of exploring the boundaries of our capabilities and limit us to the most boring kind of existence we can have - doomed to complacency and apathy.

This is another reason why I love martial arts.  Proper training with proper teachers allows us to push the boundaries with very little actual risk to ourselves (mentally/emotionally or physically).  We learn to cope with stress, we learn to be goal setters and goal achievers, and we learn and build our confidence in ourselves.

Guro Fred regularly puts us in situations where our first choice of techniques doesn't work - we have to be confident enough to keep moving/adapt/overcome -> FLOW and this is the essence of Kali Majapahit.  In a real fight things almost never go as expected.  These could be called "mistakes" or "accidents" or "fog of war" or a variety of other names.  Whether or not these are "happy accidents" or not depends on your training and your frame of mind.

I encourage you all to train hard and regularly, and to find your FLOW not just on the mats, but in every other aspect of your daily lives.  Accept yourself for who you really are, mistakes and all, and keep walking on the path to self-improvement, even an inch at a time.  be confident in your ability to be resilient and to rebound from every setback.  Be proud of never giving up on yourself.  celebrate your life and the adventures that make it worth living.  Let go of the numbers and be ready to live in the moment for just and only what it is - without measurement or judgement.  Laugh about the "happy accidents" and keep on FLOWING.

"I've missed more than 9000 shots in my career. I've lost almost 300 games. 26 times, I've been trusted to take the game winning shot and missed. I've failed over and over and over again in my life. And that is why I succeed." - Michael Jordan

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