I am an avid martial artist, training in multiple -and varied- styles. My foundation is in Taekwondo, but I also have roots digging into Aikido, Jeet Kune Do, and the Filipino martial arts (kali sticks, knives, etc). This is not to brag but to give a little background for this post and others in this Tao of Life series.
Starting off, many martial artists only see their opinion of the end goal:
- To become a black belt
- To be like Bruce Lee or Chuck Norris
- To earn a ton of money in MMA fights
However, as they progress they realize it becomes more about the journey than the goal. If all you want to accomplish is a goal, you’ll stop once you get there. If it’s about the journey (with goals interspersed throughout) then your growth will never end.
Martial arts is an excellent analogue to life. Life is a journey, an experience. We all have goals in life, but most important is the journey we take throughout our lifespan. It is this parallel of ideas and concepts that we’re going to focus on in this series. We are going to take various lessons pertaining to martial arts and adapt them to our daily lives.
“Absorb what is useful, discard what is useless and add what is specifically your own.”
I’m going to be quite frank here. I like to be a bit lazy, just not in the conventional sense. I like to find the most efficient ways to do a project or chore and see if I can adopt it into my own daily routine. I call this “being productively lazy.” Why spend unnecessary time on something if you can get the same quality results by doing it a different way?
It is with that idea in mind that I shape my outlook on life. If I find something useful, I see how I can pull it into my life. If it is useless, I cut it out of my life without hesitation. My time, money, and energy are far too precious of resources to waste.
The concept of minimalism is based around this concept; keep only the necessities and throw away all the useless knickknacks that clutter up your life.
The same is done for relationships, as heartless as that may sound. If I have a less than ideal friend, I cut the cord and move on (Law 10: Avoid the unhappy and the unlucky). Better to lose a loser friend than be dragged down with them.
On the flip side, I look for relationships that add value to my life whether it be mutually beneficial financial arrangements, camaraderie, or simply are good training partners for martial arts. I look for people who are upbeat, optimistic, and ambitious.
This concept applies to every aspect of life and is only limited by your own imagination. You should strive to cut out the useless time/money suckers out of every facet of your daily routine:
- Household chores
- Exercise regimen
Think long and hard about what you’re doing, why you’re doing it, why you’re doing it the way you’re doing it, and if you can make it easier and faster to accomplish the same task. This will allow you to funnel your time and energy to pursuits you enjoy rather than struggle to just keep up with your daily schedule.
Finally, for the last part regarding adding what is specifically your own…
Well, that’s something you’ll have to figure out for yourself.