Life is not easy for any of us. But what of that? We must have perseverance and above all, confidence in ourselves. We must believe that we are gifted for something and this thing must be obtained.
– Marie Curie
You don’t learn and grow during the easy times. But you do become more solid in what you know, in what you have learned. You refine your skill and develop a stronger foundation for your confidence. I have talked before in my blog about these times as plateaus and shared with you the importance of staying in the plateau until it is time for the next skill challenge.
This time though, I’m talking about being in the learning curve. The place where one must persevere and do their best to be in learning mode. This place is a very uncomfortable place. We are unsettled, we aren’t very good and we don’t know what lies ahead.
Just the other day I was punching the focus mitts. I am much better at moving backward and punching versus moving forward while punching. No matter how much I preach to be in learning mode, no matter how much I talk about hanging out in discomfort and being patient, I always hit places that I do not come even close to practicing what I ask others to do. I was getting frustrated and frankly down right pissed off at how poorly I executed moving forward and punching. Of course, getting irritated kept me from learning and improving, it only made me more awkward, stiff and ineffective.
I wasn’t exercising one of my best skills, perseverance.
Perseverance is not a long race, it is many short races, one after the other.
I was expecting unrealistically to be good at something that I haven’t historically practiced. During the rounds I never hit learning mode. It was afterward, talking to a friend about the hypocrisy I felt asking others to be patient when I wasn’t accomplishing it myself. We talked for awhile about how to change perspective and the rest of the evening I played my movements over and over. I realized that I inadvertently stuck myself in a pattern as a mitt holder of moving backward consistently. I had developed tremendous skill here but neglected my skill at moving forward and neglected my boxers’ skill at moving backward. This was so illuminating. I got excited immediately and popped into learning mode again. I committed to myself to stay uncomfortable, to be patient, to practice moving forward when punching and holding mitts. Most importantly I committed myself to increase my awareness around holding mitts so I can catch patterns quicker.
I then went back to the basics I know…… Start visualizing the skill I want to improve. Keep visualizing until I can see myself delivering the skill flawlessly. When I punched mitts today, I was at least 50% better. I was so jazzed. Though I’m still uncomfortable with moving forward and punching, I am well on my way to much better utilization of this skill.
Perseverance does not have to entail misery. It will be uncomfortable but not dramatically terrible. Perseverance is consistent work mentally, physically and emotionally. Most of all perseverance is an incredible learning experience that opens us up to limitless possibilities.