Beneath the Surface
More than once, on my recent European trip, people commented to me that they would love to live the life I enjoy. Some went further, and asked how they too, could do this kind of work – teaching martial arts, designing training for the military, writing books, etc. Whist I respect the love for martial arts training that these people have, I also doubt whether many truly understand the whole story of the drama that is my life. As my friend Geoff Thompson says “ Anyone can do these things if they too, are willing to do the things we do” – true enough.
For one thing, my job (if it can be called that) has many faces – and requires more than one skill-set. I make my living by running a successful martial arts school, teaching private lessons, writing books, authoring DVD’s and the like, dabbling in property development, travelling to conduct seminars, working for military and law enforcement organizations, etc. There is no one course that anyone can do to acquire the skill-sets necessary to do these things effectively and at a high level … this requires constant learning, investment in the self, experimentation, a willingness to fail, energy, focus and sacrifice. A few of the things I invest time in to do the work I do:
- Learn to communicate effectively
- Learn how to learn effectively
- Learn how other people learn effectively
- Learn how problem solving works
- Learn other languages
- Learn how cultural differences influence learning
- Learn to make distinctions: very fine distinctions
- Learn whose who in the zoo: hang with the lions, avoid the snakes
- Learn the importance of always keeping our promises: large and small
- Martial arts practise – experiment, learn test and re-test
- Constantly update and live at the ‘bleeding edge’ of that practise
- Learn how things work in the world: property, investment, travel, finances, etc
- Be adaptable
- Develop and maintain a work-ethic
- Work on my own fitness (in all things)
- Be congruent
- Be generous
- Be happy
- Study people, their behaviours, their motivations, etc
- Find time for myself and my family, learn to re-create
- Read a book per week – minimum
- Remind myself what is really important again and again …
Most people are fully capable of creating for themselves, the life they want, provided they are willing to do the necessary work – ... but therein lies the catch. Provided ....
Most of my life is great fun and challenging, both mentally and physically; but some of it can be a bit of a grind. If I have to be somewhere, because I have made a commitment to do so, where I am ill, injured, recovering from an operation, or recently back from a 25 hour flight from Europe, I need to ‘suck it up’ and do it. Things do not always go to plan or line up the way they should – but that’s all part of the work. Don’t misunderstand, I love my work, but sometimes things are not what they seem on the outside. Imagine a duck, gliding smoothly across the un-rippled surface of a pond – it all seems so serene and effortless – but beneath the surface, those legs are going a hundred mile an hour.
Seemingly effortless athletic prowess, or success in life is usually a result of a lot of ‘unseen effort’ – there’s usually an aweful lot going on beneath the surface.
If you are willing to do what it takes, you can live the life you want … if!