Friday, May 16, 2008

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Certainty

In visiting martial arts schools around the globe, I find myself the recipient of a barrage of questions relating to the running of a professional martial arts school. I almost always reply by first stating that there are people far, far more qualified than I to answer such questions; people who have seriously worked out the ‘business end’ of running a martial arts school. I do have my opinions of course, but they relate more to the ‘quality’ of instruction, and ‘lifestyle’ and ‘happiness’ considerations, rather than the ‘bottom line’ figures, profitability and so forth.
I run my single school of between 150-190 students. The majority being adults, who are there for serious martial arts practice. We don’t sing ‘kumbayah’, we don’t hold birthday parties for kids – not that these are bad things, it’s just not where we put our focus.
One of the things I have been asked (quite often of late) is how to make the jump from amateur/part-time martial arts instruction to making it a full-time vocation. This involves many sub-questions such as ‘do we rent a full-time place’, do we run things out of a school hall or community centre – or do we subscribe to what many of the pundits say, and buy a commercial property – and do it in style. Well, I can’t go into all the considerations here – but I will say this – DO WHAT MAKES YOU HAPPY. And one thing I know about happiness – is that CERTAINTY, (as much we can be certain about anything anyway) is one of the most important elements to the ‘state of happiness’. I see a lot of stressed people out there – and it seems to me they are stressed because of the UNCERTAINTY that surrounds many of their situations. Can I make rent/payments, on my house or commercial property ? What if interest rates go up? What if my wife leaves me?
Call me conservative (many of my high-powered business friends have) but I will trade a fair amount of ‘potential income’ for the state of certainty that I usually enjoy in my life. I could ‘leverage out’ more with property investments – but in being conservative I can sleep easily at nights (well, most nights anyways – right now I’m still jet lagged). Life is short my friends – too short, even for those blessed with longevity – it’s more important to err more on the side of happiness and contentment, than it is to be stressed out and worried about how your new business venture will work out. That’s my view in any case. I see a load of very rich, and very unfulfilled people out there – I have no desire to join their ranks!
Take a look at Maslow’s hierarchy of needs diagram - if you lump all bottom three tiers together – in my view, they add up to one thing – CERTAINTY. Something to be said for that ….
I’m off to Sydney tomorrow morning for the Martial Arts Industry Supershow. I hope I’ll see some of my readership there.
Best wishes,
JBW

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