China 2019 – Thursday, 1st August
Today has been a good solid day of training in classes and then a couple of hours push hands with Master Ping this evening.
I have also had the chance to do a lot of training on my own, which is really important for progress. Over the hours, weeks, days, months, years, decades – practice, practice, practice.
Train before everyone has got up in the morning, train while they’re having their lunch, train once they have gone to bed in the evening. That was my motto as a student and even now, I find that work ethic pays dividends when I want to progress in something. I don’t consider myself naturally talented, I just know that I have a work ethic that won’t be beaten (if I don’t want it to be!).
Progress is a test of endurance, it’s a marathon, not a sprint.
I think that if you are to have this mindset, you have to not be afraid to be alone, in fact you should embrace it.
I really enjoy travelling alone, to get away and spend time by myself. One of my most favourite things is to be in the wilds of a far away foreign country. As soon as I was old enough, shortly after my 18th birthday, I left the UK on my first solo travelling adventure (to Israel and Egypt).
I don’t believe that you need to travel to the far ends of the world but I think it is something very important, which everyone should try to do from time to time – getting yourself a little personal splendid isolation. Whether it’s travel, or just a few hours doing something for yourself – walk in the woods, lose yourself in a book in a coffee shop…
Family ties, work, self-imposed routines, friends, colleagues, studies… they all demand a little piece of us. I’m very lucky to love what I do and have a great relationship, but even if you are in such a fortunate situation at the moment, it’s my opinion that you need to get away from it sometimes. I’ve been in very much the opposite situation, and the need was even greater then. Toxic people and situations have a huge toll on us.
All of the above take a little piece of you, take some energy from you, even if they are things that you love. Yes, it’s true that a fulfilling family life, for example, will replenish you but despite this, it is necessary to get the occasional break to restore those aspects of yourself that nothing and no one else can reach. Possibly things we are often afraid to explore ourselves even.
We are like an energetic bank account and eventually if too much is withdrawn, without any deposits being made, we will run into trouble.
Spending some time alone, you can allow your thoughts go wander, unrestrained and uninhibited. A change of scenery and location will allow fresh inspiration to flow towards you, whilst allowing a renewed perspective on anything which may be going on in your life at the moment.
Without another person alongside you, there will be no disruptions, no distractions. No matter how trivial these disruptions might be, they still take you away from whatever it is that you are doing, or thinking…and we’re back to making withdrawals from our energetic bank accounts, rather than deposits!
If you describe someone as selfish, it mostly has negative connotations. However, I don’t think that this is necessarily the case.
I was an only child and I don’t really like sharing my food…but the selfishness which I mean is different, it’s knowing what is good for you as a person, for your energy, your spirit, and making that a priority.
(For example, when I am training at home, I won’t usually let anyone talk to me or disrupt me. It’s not rude, it’s because I know that with that time invested in myself, I will be able to be much better at whatever or for whoever needs my attention for the rest of the day).
To be the best possible person that I can be, I have to invest in myself with these times where I recharge and replenish, away from everyday life, stresses, demands, and routines – no matter how positive the other things are.
There is a reason that on a flight you are told to put on your own safety equipment before someone else’s. You’re no good to anyone if you cannot breathe!
Whether it’s travel, or getting away for a walk alone in nature, or an hour in the gym, whatever it is…take time to get away from immediate surroundings, including loved ones, children, work, studies. Allow yourself to physically and metaphorically roam free and be selfish with at least some of your time.
I have known people who tell me that they cannot spare an hour per week for exercise, even though they really would like to do it. I think it’s of vital importance that they take a long hard look at their life and priorities, because at the end of the day, like on the plane, if we don’t take care of ourselves first, in my opinion we won’t be doing ourselves, our families, careers, or even society in general, any favours.