| I attended a "Warriorís 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 Warriorís 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,
This Weekend had a strong impact on many of the participants Ė 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 Ė no matter how simple or complex Ė 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
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 couldnít 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 Ė 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 doesnít matter what that something is, just
that you make the attempt.
It is a misnomer in todayís society that there is a winner and a
loser and that itís a bad thing to lose. Obviously, I would rather win
than lose; most people would. But does that mean I shouldnít try? I
can go play tennis. If I beat my opponent, great. If not, then I donít.
In either case, life goes on and Iím still the same person (for better
or worse). I wish I had the talent to be a professional ball player. I
didnít. Iím not a loser. I do the best I can and can easily live
The term loser is an interesting phrase. It has all of the negative
connotations with no positive corollary. "Youíre a loser".
Kids say it, adults think it and most unfortunately, people believe it.
It causes fear. "I donít want to stand out". "I just
want to fit in". "Iím happy with my life just the way it
is". Loser, is a loaded term. Itís much stronger than saying
"He lost" or "She tried her best". Youíre a loser.
Thatís 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 doesnít 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
Ė and you will.
Through motivation and belief, you too can "break your
board" on the way to new accomplishments and success.