The Art of Motivation

Over the years, I have been part of many martial arts schools and various projects involving different skills. I've encountered amazing people with talent, skills and ideas that far surpass my own. Yet, I've watched countless dojos fill and empty as motivation is merely a flickering candle in most hearts.

There is nothing more common and more certain to keep an individual from their goal than incompletion. 

We all speak of the importance of motivation and that can lead to the emphasis of positive thinking or even hard work, but this will all prove to be a temporary encouragement as "obstacles" materialize often in the forms of inconvenience and discomfort. The key to motivation in all circumstances is hope, but how do we attain hope amid increasingly dark times, betrayal and financial concerns?

Sure it will help to turn off the TV, ignore negative people and thoughts and completely isolate yourself in order to attain your objects. This is how many monks in the past have chosen to live their lives in order to reach some form of "enlightenment." Still this is only an illusion of strength because once you return from the mountain, you are thrown back into the fire of reality, which pulls no punches. And separation in itself can be a form of apathy, leading directly to spiritual atrophy.

If you must abandon the obstacles and chores of your life, you will not improve your life because the obstacles are life itself. 

The answer is not as difficult or strenuous as you might imagine. A person without hope is already dead and hope will supply all the needed motivation. The key to hope is something we all had as a child and slowly were trained to forget through the "reality" forced upon us. It's mentioned in the classroom, but ultimately not rewarded academically. It's only offered in the courses that do not promise a career of financial stability (probably deliberately). It's in our art, music, wood shop and even PE courses.

In short, hope can be directly accessed through creativity. 

In my training, creativity is what's kept me from feeling like my training is stale over the last 35 years. Sure I have to train every movement 10,000 times, but must I always train them in the same location, in the same fashion or with the same mindset?

In my mind as I child I visualized sparring with Batman and the movements and weapons I would need to overcome. It lead me to understanding how to throw knives and use gymnastic skills that inspired new curiosities: how could I actually deal with 12 opponents with knives? Of course the odds are against any one in such an encounter, but isn't that more motivating than worrying about combat with a single foe? Doesn't that lead me to training even harder?

I've researched techniques against dozens of styles, created characters to represent movements and training ideas as in my novel, "Master Trey's Flawless Outlaws." It doesn't matter how unrealistic it may seem, for at one time it seemed that learning Chinese was just a fantasy to me. Yet, the completion of my cooky ideas lead to a feeling of achievement. If I can throw a knife and do a back flip, why can't I learn Chinese?

Now my Chinese in many areas has far surpassed my English. This then leads me to wonder what else can I do with my time. Could I make an album? Could I put my show on Netflix? Could I create a new Disney land?

Naturally your ideas will continue to grow with your creative accomplishments and the best part is, there is no such thing as failure. I've had many ideas that didn't pan out, but they only lead to other inspiring ideas, meeting other creative individuals and ultimately bringing me joy.

I have influenced my training with goals that will not get stale: kicking a thousand leaves off of trees, practicing my circle on rooftops or trying to understand a technique in the form of a song. The possibilities of every exercise of every day are endless. How could you not be excited by all that you can do with your life?

Unfortunately, we are trained to not be inspired and even inspirational. Had I listened to any of the words around me (i.e. Fighting with Batman that's like kid stuff, You can't learn Chinese, It's too hard to write a book) I would have lost my creativity, followed by my hope and then motivation.

Sadly, people just want you to agree with smaller and even negative ideas so that they won't feel wrong for giving up on their own dreams. That's not being "realistic" that's being uninspired.

God tells us to have the mind of a child and I understand now more than ever as I see those around me continue to age. I'm not smarter, more talented or even more diligent than many of my friends and martial arts brothers. I'm simply excited by new ideas and inspired to bring them into fruition. Don't let people convince you to "grow up" at least not as it relates to crazy ideas.

The crazy ideas are the only real ideas, everything else is just a compromise. 


Unknown said…
The man is full of wisdom! Add this to the book of things ones needs to read while maturing.
Tu Hsin Wu said…
Well said. I got back to your blog every now and again to remember what I keep forgetting!

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