What has become a fairly routine experience for me is to teach my morning judo class, grab a quick shower, and head over to one of the hundreds of coffee shops in downtown Portland, OR. I usually utilize this time to put some music on and collect my thoughts or listen to an audio book and take notes. If possible, I would recommend taking an hour out of your day to do something like this, as I have seen many benefits in my life once I made this ritual a consistent weekly staple.
I was almost done with my iced coffee when I wrote this journal entry, a definite caffeinated epiphany. I copy the exact paragraph from my journal below:
11/8: The ability to think in the long term is something I feel I have improved on. Thinking about techniques, dealings, trades, relationships, and actions in general, in the long term, allows you to see things as “investments” rather than “costs”. I write this knowing that there is always room for improvements, but based on where I once was I can say I have advanced.
When moving with this mindset, it allows things to slow down and you can judge opportunities as they come. Before, I remember leaping and grabbing everything that came my way. Now, I can see how present actions can set up and synergistically build future results. This can also work in a detrimental sense as well.
I guess it allows you to CHOOSE opportunities rather than REACT to them. It’s a mindset that helps rearrange the chess board of power.
While this thought may already be common sense to some, for me, it was a realization of something I was either too ignorant to fathom or was oblivious to it being a reality. Either way, writing it down allowed me to pull the thread of the idea further, like, how can this be applied to time on the mat?
I found myself digesting this idea for a few days and after a recent morning judo class, I believe I took a step forward in understanding it. I had my judo class do a 5 minute drill that is geared towards getting them exhausted. They can choose how far they want to push themselves, but the point of the drill is to work until they are exhausted. It’s meant to be fairly intense. Anyway, when it was done, I felt like it was a good chance to see if I could connect this idea to putting in time on the mat.
The end goal is exhaustion. Students can either CHOOSE to push themselves to become exhausted or they can REACT to the designed drill and reach exhaustion that way. Either way, exhaustion will be reached, but the two paths getting there are completely different.
– One was pushing their ceiling of physical fitness, the other was accepting it for what it is.
– One was approached with a mindset of aggression and attack, the other was approached with difficulty and defeat.
– One was decisively handled, the other was a mere reaction.
When put this way, it is easy to see how a CHOICE versus a REACTION is clearly different, even if the end remains the same. Now imagine this in other aspects of your life, business, education, relationships, etc. Chances are, I was already unknowingly operating on this idea, but I have always been the type of person where my awareness of something can bring with it a new focus and polishing of whatever it is I have become aware of. The new goal is to become aware of the things I am currently unaware of.
Choices may be between many things, some all good, some all bad, one thing, one hundred things, but the fact that you are in a position in which you can CHOOSE means that you are in a higher degree of control versus a situation in which you must REACT. While there are people who are great improvisors, those who find the most powerful version of themselves when reacting to a situation or circumstance, I believe that if you are often reacting to situations, you may be often reeling on your back foot due to never being able to CHOOSE what you wish, but simply reacting to what is coming along. If this is the case, when do you ever believe you will step forward? Make the CHOICE to advance, do not wait for a REACTION, for they are rarely ever in the direction you desire to go.