Saturday, March 14, 2009

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Fear of Consequence


Fear of Consequence
This is what holds us back from trying new things.
Fear stops us from trying new things – or to put it more accurately, it’s the fear of the consequence that stops us from trying new things. This is why trapeze artists use safety nets; it allows them to try new tricks without fear of consequence should the new trick fail. Imagine if they took the net away – what would the result be? Answer: to stay with those tricks that they know with absolute certainty, they can get right 100% of the time. Living without a safety net makes for ‘safe and conservative practise’ – living with a safety net makes for creative experimentation.
So the question becomes: How do we build ourselves a safety net? Firstly, we need to get clarity on what the consequences actually are ... more often than not, we have a tendency to build these consequences up into something they are not. The things we are afraid of have a way of appearing larger and more menacing than they actually are – so step one is to see the consequences of failure for what they actually are.
Further to this, by building the right culture on the mat; one of mutual respect; one that encourages experimentation; one that rewards rather than punishes failure; one in which people work together as a team to get a better result than one could achieve by his or her efforts alone – this builds a strong ‘safety net’ that benefits everyone.
The there is the ‘personal responsibility’ that each of us should take for the construction of our own ‘portable safety net’. When I watch people wrestling on the mat … I see lots of chances for the students to go for armbars (for example) – and more often than not, they go for them, only when there is a better than 50% chance of pulling it off. This, on the surface of it, seems like a good strategy. Ie: Only bet when there is a better than 50% chance of winning. But here’s the problem, this is training – not gambling – in gambling, if you lose, you lose hard-earned money; in grappling, if you go for an armbar and fail, at most, you lose the fight – perhaps you only lose position – in which case you will develop ‘follow-ups’, combinations, recovery skills, etc. So what is the actual consequence of going for an armbar and failing? Probably, very little! In fact, you will almost certainly develop skills that you would otherwise never develop. Developing recovery skills and follow-ups (combinations) is one the best ways to make a start on weaving our own safety net – one which we take with us wherever we go.
Start building …
JBW 2009

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