How to Improve Your Perseverance Skills as a Martial Artist
by Richard Hackworth
The martial arts can be compared to every other field of endeavor. There are times when everyone in life has setbacks, both big and small. The larger the setback the more noticeable. We find that even the smaller ones can take a toll on the way we think and feel. These obstacles can leave you scrambling to keep up and might lead to you even reconsidering the paths and goals that you were pursuing.
Learning how to deal with and overcome obstacles is a critical trait for martial arts leaders and students alike. So, what kinds of techniques or approaches can such leaders use when they’re facing trying times or unforeseen challenges? This is the advice that I would give to anyone who wishes to develop their perseverance.
Here are my nine rules for learning perseverance:
Rule # 1. Don’t be afraid to fail.
Perseverance comes from failing and getting back up. Without failure, you cannot become resilient. So, you must change your relationship with failure to seeing it as a lesson, rather than a setback. You can learn so much from failure that changing your attitude toward it can have amazing implications for your life.
Rule # 2. Be 1% better every day.
From the book “Atomic Habits” I learned that having a growth mindset is a great way to increase perseverance and motivation. Understand that these are skills like any other and try to improve upon them just 1% every day. Keeping this concept at the back of your head throughout the day is a great way to get better in all regards.
Rule # 3. Begin to take risks.
By learning to take risks, you raise the probability of facing more difficult situations. When in those difficult situations, if you can learn to adapt and understand what steps are necessary to keep the school growth moving in the right direction, you can grow as a leader.
Rule # 4. Understand resistance.
More people can persevere when they have a better understanding of resistance. Everyone who struggles with it should take time to identify what is holding you back. When you can name the resistance, it loses its power and there is more room for perseverance.
Rule # 5. Exercise regularly.
Apply the 40% rule. The rule is that if you complete 40% of the task, your likelihood of quitting drops drastically. I believe that the No. 1 way to develop this skill is physical training. Martial arts, doing sprints or even some endurance training is guaranteed to carry over to your mental resilience.
Rule # 6. Build a network of support.
If you want to learn how to persevere, you should build a network of support. Building a network of support that includes family, friends, co-workers, and peers will allow you to have a comfortable place to open up and get feedback and encouragement during hard times. Whenever something goes wrong, you can turn to your network of support and talk through what’s going on.
Rule # 7. Keep your goals in mind.
When we make mistakes or fail, many people will be tempted to give up altogether. Instead, if you want to persevere, always keep your goals in mind. Start by writing down your short and long-term goals somewhere that’s easy to access. Then, anytime there’s a bump in the road, look at that list to inspire you and keep you moving forward.
Rule # 8. Set clear benchmarks.
Success can be a long and tough journey. I suggest instilling benchmarks to provide yourself rewards or encouragement along the way. The rewards can be anything from a fancy lunch to new clothes or a weekend vacation. The benchmarks will keep reminding you of the progress you have made. Additionally, the reward helps provide continued motivation to persevere through difficult times.
Rule # 9. Remember your ‘why.’
Getting a break doing anything in this world can be tough. I was once told by an old professor, “It’s not the most talented people that make it, it’s the ones with the most endurance.” And that is true. For me, I must remember the “why.” Why am I doing this? What was the original reason I set out on this path? Reflecting on that reminds me that this journey is worth my time. These rules have served me well. I hope that you will find them useful as well.
About the author: Richard Hackworth is a multi-arts Grand Master and a host of the Tea with the Masters podcast. He is the US Director for the World Martial Arts Congress and a noted expert in the areas of martial arts leadership and character development.
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