Get up eight?
friend Al Peasland (www.completeselfprotection.com) recently pointed out that a Japanese saying, which I had
cherished for ages as a source of wise assurance, was essentially
down seven times – get up eight” sustained me through some
sparring sessions that I thought were pretty heavy at the time. It
kept me going back to training, when I really wanted to get the hell
out, in much the same way (with the benefit of hindsight) as the
western clichés about not being a quitter had previously kept me in
relationships that weren't working and jobs I hated.
times I felt grateful to the saying about getting up again – surely
it was important to keep pursuing my training goals to the very end,
no matter what the hardships on the way might be.
- without being a quitter I'd still be chain smoking a constant
stream of hand rolled cigarettes, and drinking whiskey on my own when
everyone else has gone to bed. And worse...
you get knocked down seven times you only need to get up again seven
times, right? (thanks, Al) Or is the eighth time simply you falling down by your
own efforts? Again.
how it was for me.
me the eighth time was always about doing the wrong thing at the
wrong time – usually for the right sort of reason, but still, the
wrong thing, for me. At that time.
a think about that one.
jobs weren't necessarily bad ones, my partners in the poor
relationships weren't intrinsically bad people, and neither did I
have to view myself as a bad person when things didn't work out. I
just thought all those things because I didn't know how not to.
the style I was flogging a dead horse in is an excellent one, and the
dojo is filled with lovely instructors who are dedicated to their
art. It just wasn't for me. And I felt awful that it wasn't, but
didn't know what to do about it. And got very very frustrated and
was just another thing added to the swirling mess of racing thoughts
which kept me awake at night. The ones that arrived moments after
putting my head on the pillow, making sleep impossible, no matter how
tired I was.
silly little thought would lead to another slightly bigger one, and
so on, and before I knew it I would find myself overwhelmed by a
storm of things that needed doing – a storm so large it had no
beginning and no end, and certainly had no discernible way of taking
action on it.
answer? In the end it was very simple. Make a list.
made a list of all the things that were troubling me. All the
outstanding jobs, bills that needed paying, letters that needed
writing, vehicles that needed work, articles or stories that were
clamouring to be put together rather than sit in my head poisoning
me. There were vet appointments to be made, clients to ring,
lifestyle changes to be introduced. Ideas for projects to be got off
the ground, favours to be returned, new customers to be marketed to,
jobs to be applied for, weight to be lost, new habits to be formed.
Or old ones to be broken.
familiar? I hope not. But I bet it does.
I made the first list, later transferring it to a succession of tiny
notebooks that are easy to carry safely everywhere I go, I began
making a contract with myself, which removed those things that needed
doing from my over-busy mind and put them somewhere I can refer to,
and, more importantly, do something about; freeing up my mind for
more enjoyable thinking. Or no thinking at all. It's up to me now.
a list. Do the easy stuff first. Carry the list everywhere and add to
it the instant you think of something, even if you are in bed in the
dark trying to sleep. Especially if you are in bed in the dark
trying to sleep. That way it's not lingering in your mind as
a nagging worry. Do the easy stuff for a while, without thought of
the big-ticket items, and something magical begins to happen. You
grow bigger muscles for dealing with the things you've been hiding
from, and you begin to relish the challenges.
it incrementally, like learning to drive. You don't go out on the
motorway on your first driving lesson. For most of us getting off the
driveway is too much at first, but lesson by lesson we get to the
point where driving becomes automatic and we can't imagine it ever
having been hard.
is all it takes. Put some practical stuff in place, by reading Geoff
Thompson, or Jim Lawless, for instance, or about meditation
techniques, or by studying your religion a little more closely; and
then just practice being whatever it is you want to be.
flog dead horses, and don't expect the same old routines to take you
somewhere different. These days I train in environments that are not
so different really, to the one I moved on from, I just fit in better
is all. No one's fault, it's just the way it is, and it was only a
fluke that led to me moving on. I'm not still in my first job, or
living with my first girlfriend either, and that's okay too. For
to trust your own instincts again - and don't worry about getting up
more times than you are knocked down ;-) because (and this I promise
you) a life that is well lived and free from crippling, but pointless
and avoidable worry makes you much harder to knock down in the first
when the knocking down is being done by yourself.
Author: Stuart Williams
Copyright © 2011 www.stuart-williams.com - all rights reserved.