Photo by Nicki Varkevisser
“Sometimes success is due less to ability than to zeal” – Charles Buxton
Aikido changed my life.
When I first started, I was hesitant and scared. I had trained in martial arts before, but I’d always had a mental block that held me back from giving it everything I had. I constantly looked to my trainer (or Sensei) for approval. I thought and sometimes asked:
- Is this okay?
- Am I doing this right?
- Should I change something?
I was constantly second-guessing myself. But one day, everything changed. And my Sensei noticed. He asked: “What happened? You’ve made great progress.” Remember, I live in Finland, where a nod of the head is considered high praise.
I changed my mindset.
I went from looking for approval to taking responsibility for what I did. I reclaimed my power. No longer did I worry about failing, I committed fully into each exercise. There was no hesitation, just action. And it showed.
I used more power in each technique. I let go of all the what ifs and focused on doing what I could do. I didn’t try to execute each technique perfectly. Instead I did my best and focused on getting the end result. And if I needed to adjust something, I would get feedback, but until then, I was doing things in the way I understood them.
How Did the Change in Mindset Happen?
It happened because I became sick of seeking permission.
It takes a lot of energy to keep trying to figure out what someone else wants. I realized that keeping this up wouldn’t work. I could constantly ask my Sensei whether or not I was doing things right, but I wouldn’t enjoy it. Sooner or later, I had to commit to what I was doing. The only way was to do things my way. If I made mistakes, I would own those mistakes, and learn from them. When I made the mindset change, I discovered that I had been holding myself back for all this time.
There was no need for approval. There was no need for permission. And above all, there was no need to be afraid to fully commit to each exercise.
Why This Mindset Change is Crucial
This is not just about me improving at Aikido.
I’ve since stopped training in Aikido, but the mindset shift has stayed with me ever since. And it has helped me build an online business around my passion. It has helped me in tough times, where I’ve run into trouble, confusion and uncertainty. I fully commit to whatever I’m doing now. Failure is okay, but half-heartedness is not. I either do it, or I don’t.
Now, I’m not perfect. There are times when I don’t commit. When I notice this, I ask myself if I really want what I’m doing. Am I ready to commit? If not, I step out.
What’s Holding You Back?
Take a look at your own life.
Where are you avoiding full commitment because you’re afraid?
How could you make the shift to committing fully?
And if you’re not willing to do that, could you drop that task, goal or activity?
We often put up safety-mechanisms to protect us from failure, because if we don’t give something our best, we have an excuse.We haven’t really failed because we didn’t put everything into it, right? Wrong. If you don’t commit, you’ve failed before you’ve even started. So commit, and boldly go after what you truly want.