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I attended a "Warrior’s Weekend" at a retreat near Hunter Mountain and watched my son earn his black belt in Tae Kwon Do. It was both exciting and illuminating.

This Warrior’s Weekend was designed around a common theme: motivation. During this weekend, the over 200 participants were taught and practiced numerous techniques by several master and grand master instructors. Throughout the entire weekend, the common theme of motivation and positive energy was preached. This culminated in an Anthony Robbins-type exercise. Instead of "burning" away your problems by walking on hot coals, weekend participants broke a (thin) board that they had previously written their problems and tribulations on. It was very exciting although far surpassed by the black belt test, itself.

This Weekend had a strong impact on many of the participants – that being the realization that confidence, perseverance and a positive attitude could overcome their problems and fears, which in this case translated to (when breaking the board), "I can do it!".

An important aspect of success in any enterprise is the belief in oneself; that a person can go out into the world, possibly stand out and have enough confidence and knowledge to successfully perform a difficult activity or task. It is too easy for people to make excuses, procrastinate or even ignore situations that they fear or worse, believe that they can fail in. Negative feedback permeates our everyday existence with a constant reinforcement of our limitations. What becomes routine – no matter how simple or complex – rapidly becomes something that we know we can do everyday and is therefore not a challenge that requires much confidence to overcome. It is when people attempt to step beyond this routine that their trepidation and fear takes hold.

What will happen to us if we fail at this new task? Will it cost us our life, our livelihood or our health? If so, I know I would certainly hesitate about making such a drastic move. But if not, what is there to actually fear? Failure? Someone laughing at us? Loss of prestige? In actuality, there is much to be gained by trying and little to be lost. Even if you fail, you succeed by trying. You can even gain the admiration of people by your attempt. I couldn’t believe it when my eight year old, having successfully completed his black belt test, asked to break a brick (with his hand). That he did it on his first try was amazing to me and I must admit, caused me to shed several tears. But, he went out and tried. And succeeded. What would have happened if he failed? Nothing. A sore hand and an unbroken brick – along with my admiration and tears for his attempt and accomplishment.

The motivation to try or strive for some task or accomplishment exists within every person. Whether that task is simple or complex, the motivation to try is the first and most important step to take. There is no action from inaction.

One thing that one of the instructors said at the Warrior Weekend stuck in my mind; that being, "If you want something badly enough, you will do it". It doesn’t matter what that something is, just that you make the attempt.

It is a misnomer in today’s society that there is a winner and a loser and that it’s a bad thing to lose. Obviously, I would rather win than lose; most people would. But does that mean I shouldn’t try? I can go play tennis. If I beat my opponent, great. If not, then I don’t. In either case, life goes on and I’m still the same person (for better or worse). I wish I had the talent to be a professional ball player. I didn’t. I’m not a loser. I do the best I can and can easily live with that.

The term loser is an interesting phrase. It has all of the negative connotations with no positive corollary. "You’re a loser". Kids say it, adults think it and most unfortunately, people believe it. It causes fear. "I don’t want to stand out". "I just want to fit in". "I’m happy with my life just the way it is". Loser, is a loaded term. It’s much stronger than saying "He lost" or "She tried her best". You’re a loser. That’s much stronger and far more negative and hurtful than merely saying you lost. Most importantly, it results in fear and inaction.

So, how can we motivate ourselves to overcome our complacency and fear? The first and most important way is to develop a belief in our abilities and ourselves. It doesn’t matter what that belief is. It could be our intelligence, thoughtfulness, creativity, athletic ability or anything for that matter. It is a starting place, a source of confidence and a place from which we can grow and overcome our fears. Second, is the belief that we can do something outside our normal activities. "I believe that I can break a board", for example. If we believe we can do something, we have a much greater chance of success. Finally, there is the motivation to actually go out and do something. Decide what that thing is and Go for it! Write down what that task is so you can frequently refer to it, remembering to read it every morning and night. Look in the mirror and tell yourself you can do it – and you will.

Through motivation and belief, you too can "break your board" on the way to new accomplishments and success.


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