As a martial arts teacher, I probably say the word focus more in one day than most say it in an entire year! Looking back on my early days of training, I can remember one of my first teachers, Paul Reyes, telling me that focus was one of the two most important lessons I would learn through martial arts …. And boy was he right!
Fast forward to 41-year-old me, and I can honestly say that this is something I’m STILL working on! For example, although I know that focusing on 'failures' or negative outcomes can ultimately shape my reality, I struggle to stay focused on the positive. I preach the power of having a positive attitude, and yet there I am allowing the negative to seep in when I look at my own performance.
Take today, for instance: I stood on the scales (scales that have seen many different numbers over the years) and saw that my weight hasn’t budged for going on 3 weeks. My first response? A sigh and a shake of the head as I wonder what I’ve done wrong! Seriously?! I feel better than I have in a LONG time and am getting stronger every week! Why am I stuck in the 330s?!
Here’s where I used the Force, as in forcing myself to redirect my focus back to the positive! I’ve been strict on my nutrition plan. I’ve been consistently exercising at a pretty high level. Though my weight loss has plateaued, my body is growing leaner and stronger, and if I can stay the course, the changes will continue to be noticeable.
That’s the magic …. Focusing on how my attitude will affect my outcome. When I allow myself to feel like I’m not getting anywhere despite all the hard work, I tend to make poor choices like skipping a workout or eating the greasy foods as a way to comfort myself or to say “if I’m not progressing, why work so hard?” On the flip side, when I stay focused on my desired outcome, I am motivated to push forward or find a new way that WILL produce results.
Even the affirmation embroidered in black on my belt says “you control the outcome.” My focus WILL determine my reality and I WILL reach my goal weight!
As a member of the Ultimate Black Belt Test 2018, I am dedicated to improving myself and the martial arts I teach by passing on the lessons I'm continuously leaning through the process. I am committed to adding to the work of my mentor and UBBT creator and coach, Tom Callos, by expanding on what martial arts can represent in our studio and in our community. If you'd like to know more about the Ultimate Black Belt test or the work of Tom Callos, please feel free to visit the sites linked above!