Sunday, May 10, 2009

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Doing Better – Feeling Worse


A lot of people, particularly in BJJ training, comment that they seem to be doing worse in their second year of training than they were in their first. The same thing often happens in other areas of people’s lives – and it can be for a couple of reasons.
Firstly, particularly in the martial arts field, people who run professional schools, often start out by trying to monetize the thing they are passionate about. Wow – I love martial arts training – it’s what I live for. How great would it be to do this for a living. Then of course – when they need to pay the school rent, teach classes, day in, day out – the same old thing (not yours truly of course) – they become bored and disillusioned. The magic of martial arts training begins to evaporate as the bills keep coming and they find themselves teaching twenty classes a week just to make ends meet. They are doing more of what they love – they are even getting better at it – but they are feeling decidedly worse!
These people have forgotten the most important thing – they have forgotten to keep INVESTING in their own training and development. Rule number one – KEEP THE PASSION ALIVE!
The other common reason that people often do better but feel worse is because they are making the wrong comparisons. They compare how they are doing with how other people are doing and not how they are doing NOW with how they were doing THEN.
This often happens on the BJJ mat. The complaint comes back – hey, it’s as hard now as it was a year ago; I’m not getting better! Obviously, what is wrong with that statement is that it is based on the fact that they are comparing their performance with their classmates (WHO HAVE ALSO BEEN TRAINING HARD) instead of comparing their current performance with their performance of a year ago. Comparing ourselves with others IS NOT a way to happiness and fulfillment.
Train Hard – Train happily.
JBW

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6 Comments

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Hi John

Another great post. You have real talent for clearly describing concepts, ideas and the like that I already am aware of. I started making big progress in my training (and indeed my life) when I started competing with myself and not anyones else.

Thanks for all the little gems of knowledge you've posted, LUKE

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Anonymous 12:33 pm

You got that right there John as a lot of people are competitve in nature. I beleive sometimes competition is good but it could get ugle and turn into unhealthy competition where they do martial arts for the wrong reason. I beleive the key in your blog is self development instead of competition and I beleive this should be emphasised in every martial arts class as there are a lot of people doing martial arts for the wrong reason. Love you Blogs John...keep them coming mate.

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Thanks very much for the comments - for myself, I feel that I live my life in a much better state now than when I was far more 'personally competitive' as a twenty year old.
Comparing ourselves to others can often times lead to an unhealthy outlook. On my own mat - I encourage everyone to buold an environment/culture where it is okay to try/experiment, etc - it is more difficult to acheive this if everyone is overly competitive with each other. When people are supper-competitive, they invariably 'shrink' back to their 'safe' game.
We do live in a competitive world - but it's co-operation that has underpinned most of the huge advancements that mankind has made.
best wishes
JBW

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Anonymous 1:59 pm

Hi John,

I find my BJJ classes and training great but tend to get a little down over my progress. I will definitely take your advice in comparing myself with only myself and not with those around me, I'm actually really surprised I didnt think of that. I guess thats the beauty of advice from those on the outside looking in with all those years of experience.
Keep up the good posts! :):)

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Anonymous,
seriously, this is important. Comparing ourselves to others is not going to make you happy. The journey for me is a very personal one. Others help my on my way - those better help me - those not as good help me - I in turn help each of those. We are all moving forward. Comparing ourselves to others - on the mat - with regard to financial circumstances - relationships, whatever - isn't that healthy. I have people far, afr wealtheir than I am - I take their advice sometimes - at other times I don't (particualrly when it conflicts with the way I want to live) - those better than use can help us grow - but not by comparing whether they are better, wealthier, etc - but by comparing WHAT they are doing and HOW they are doing these things, with the way we are doing them. That comparison is very instructive.
JBW

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Thank you John for this post, and all the others. I'm catching up on reading them. :) I really enjoy your style of writing, and look forward to your blogs. Thank you sir.

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