Beneath the Surface

I jumped on the plane at dawn in Oslo (norway), flew to London, then to Hong Kong and then back to Australia; 25 hours of travel. After 12 hours rest at home with my family, I am once again at the airport.
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!


Anonymous said…
Good blog, food for thought as always.

With the variety of tasks and challanges you have set before yourself, it always amazes me that you have the time and patience to frequent your Geelong studio and teach us white belts whith the level of detail, positivity and presence that you do.

I for one am very grateful for it.


Simon S
JBW said…
Hi Simon
thanks for the comment.
The favourite part of my work is the time spent at my school .... can't wait to be in there tonight. See you soon,
Inger Craven said…
Well said John. I’m reminded of a talk you gave at one of our recent NZ seminars about loving what you do rather than doing what you love (then becoming disheartened because of the hard work involved). That really hit home for me and how you can turn your life into something you really love with a shift in attitude. I am loving what I do, thanks!
Simon M said…
Thanks for this blog. The road to make a change can come from a number of inspirations, and I have recently concluded on making a significant change in my career.

Your blog and teachings has been one of the inspirations for me, and I look forward to filling you in on the details in class soon.

Simon M

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