I train Brazilian Jujitsu with some friends two mornings a week. I’m not great at it, but I do enjoy the exercise and the strategy it involves. One thing that I’m reminded of over and over is the need to get uncomfortable to learn and grow.
For those that might not know, Brazilian Jujitsu is, more or less, strategic wrestling with the goal of getting your opponent to tap out. From the beginning it’s uncomfortable. You are rolling around with some dude, on top of one another, trying to choke him out or use some other submission move. Not only is the lack of personal space uncomfortable, but in my case, I roll with two guys that are much stronger than I am and have 30+ pounds on me. I am continually at a disadvantage, and that is really what I love about it.
Being uncomfortable and at a disadvantage teaches me so much! I am learning to “fight” someone that should pummel me. It’s a struggle every time. I think (know) that our teacher lets me struggle to get a good position to teach me something, and otherwise it would never happen. But, the struggle produces more growth more quickly.
I think this is true is so many areas of life. Being uncomfortable or at a disadvantage breeds growth. Often, our mistake is in avoiding those situations, avoiding conflict, risk or discomfort. Perhaps, we should embrace these things knowing that we will get better because of them.
If you want to see a 150lb Jujitsu Champ take on a 250lb bodybuilder to get a better idea of what Brazilian Jujitsu looks like and why it’s interesting, here you go:
Photo by James Pond on Unsplash
I’m reading 15 Secrets Successful People Know About Time Management by Kevin Kruse and enjoying it. One of the first things Kevin talks about is the limited number of minutes in a day and how that is one of the only things that you have that you can never get back. He also had a part in the book listing off some of the things you can do in one minute. If you think about it, you can do a lot in one minute, and some of those things are far more valuable than others. Here are some lists I have come up with.
Highly valuable things I can do in one minute:
- Tell my wife I love her
- Show my kids attention and affection
- Write an encouraging note or email
- Read one-page of a book that can impact me
- Declutter my desk or some other flat surface
- Send an encouraging text to a friend
- Write out ten things I’m thankful for
Less valuable things I often do in one minute (or more):
- Play a smartphone game
- Read an article I don’t care about
- Veg out to a video I don’t care about
- Surf Facebook, Twitter, etc.
I think you get the idea. Kevin’s point is that successful people are aware of how they spend their minutes. And, they choose to spend those minutes on things that matter and move the ball forward rather than things that don’t. I’m learning to be more aware of how I spend my minutes.
Photo by Sabri Tuzcu on Unsplash
This morning my son went out to the chicken coop to get eggs (yes, we have nine chickens in your backyard). On his way back in, his hands full of eggs and struggling not to drop them, he got to the back deck and (in a typically 10-year-old-boy agitated fashion) demanded that his younger sister open the door. I don’t know if she didn’t like his tone, or the combined look of anger, frustration, and fear about dropping an egg, but she refused to open the door. He bellowed again for the door to be opened. She just sat there.
Normally, I would praise my daughter for demanding proper treatment, after all, she is a princess. But, in this case, when her brother was obviously in need of help, it was not the time. I told my daughter to let him in, even though he had not asked nicely and then I sat down with her to explain this.
When someone genuinely needs help, help first; then deal with the other stuff.
I don’t think my son meant to be a jerk at that moment; he just didn’t want to drop the eggs before getting them inside. The best choice was to help him, and then afterward explain to him that asking nicely is a better option.
This is one of the mantras I want to live by and that I want to teach my kids. Help first. If you see a need you can meet, meet it. Then deal with the other stuff.
Photo by Brina Blum on Unsplash
Lately, I have added a phrase to my vernacular. I repeat it in my mind and aloud. The phrase has become somewhat of a mantra and a mini-meditation of sorts. It has helped me to calm down, take life a little slower, and take in my surroundings. You want to know this magical phrase right? Well, it’s not magical, it’s just a reminder. The phrase is, “I’m in no hurry.” Goofy right? But, insanely effective.
Historically I’m always in a hurry. At every phase of my life, I can remember being in a hurry to get to the next one. Even as a kid my mom used to laugh at how I always wanted to rush to the next thing, often at the expense of the current thing. I can tell you from experience, that is a terrible way to live your life. It is unsatisfying because you are always looking for fulfillment in the next thing rather than enjoying the thing happening right now. Deferred fulfillment is not fulfillment at all; it is emptiness chasing a ghost.
Somewhere along the way, over the course of many years, I have realized this and have methodically slowed down to smell the roses. I have reduced what I do and refined my habits to get rid of excess. And now I’m implementing this piece of the puzzle. This phrase, mantra, meditation is helping me to realize that I am in no hurry. I don’t have to yell at that slow driver because I don’t care if I’m driving slow. I don’t have to get stressed about making it to my next meeting because I have left in plenty of time to be at least 30-minutes early. I don’t feel pressure because I move from thing to thing throughout my day with purpose and with enough buffer between events to know that I’m in no hurry. My pace has slowed. I’m living more in the moment. And, I’m getting more done than ever before! This is a better way to live.
Over a year ago my seven-year-old daughter (who was six then) went with her granny to Walmart to buy towels. The towels were marked on sale, so they picked up four or five. At checkout, the clerk determined those towels were not on sale and refused to give the sale price. Granny is not one to be taken advantage of, so she left there after expressing her unhappiness for how she was treated and went to Target to buy towels instead.
Fast forward to last week. I took my seven-year-old to get something at Walmart. As we were walking through the store, she said, “daddy, Walmart is mean.” I asked her why and she recounted the entire story of the towels. I would bet that years from now she will find that she prefers Target over Walmart and this experience will be a part of that subconscious decision.
Impressions like that are hard to shake and one employee on one bad day can make an impression that can shape someone’s perception of your company for a lifetime. This was a great reminder for me to always be aware of the impression that I’m making and it’s potential long term effects. It also reminded me that when someone does have a bad impression, I have to work extra hard to overcome that and win them over.
The other day someone asked me what I wish I had known at 18. I wish I had known a lot! But, a few things immediate sprang to mind.
- Have a long term plan. When I was younger the sky was the limit and looking back on that time I realize that I really didn’t think very far out. I would make decisions based very much on the short term without really thinking about how that decision would play out in the long term. Having a written out, long term plan would have been immensely helpful.
- Have humility and listen more than you talk. At 18 I knew it all. Knowing it all makes you a terrible listener and pride is a great setup for a fall.
- Relationships are precious, fragile and require more care than you think. I just assumed that relationships were easy because many of mine had been up to that point. In my young adult life I took too many relationships for granted and didn’t show enough effort and appreciation towards people that were important to me.
What do you wish you knew when you were 18?