Friday, March 4, 2011

One Positive Thing, Martial Arts, and Hitting the Proverbial Wall

The other day I read Cate's post on One Positive Thing:
The power of sustained small achievements is underrated. If every day I did one positive thing for my health, my living space, and my relationship, what would my world look like a month, six months, a year from now?
I love this concept.  If you're ever feeling overwhelmed, whether by grad school, work, or just life, focus on one positive thing you can do.  Chances are, other good things will follow, but even if they don't you still have that one positive thing.

After reading this, I immediately thought about a technique I've been using in my Taekwondo training recently.  I've been trying to push myself more - just ten more pushups, 30 more speed kicks, better patterns, whatever. Whenever I have hit the proverbial wall, I have been doing one of two things.

One is to think of Bruce Lee and how much he was able to push himself. I remember the story about someone being pushed to run just a little more by Lee and think of that. For some reason it gives me a jolt of energy and desire to succeed.

The other is yoga breathing. The other day doing 100 speed kicks on each leg was suddenly so much more feasible when I focused on deep breathing and keeping my body calm - it's like my leg was doing its own thing and I didn't even think about the fatigue.

These ended up being my "one positive thing" for Taekwondo.  Now that I'm thinking about the concept, I'll be watching for opportunities to use it whenever I get frustrated or lose confidence in my research.  There is always something small I can focus on that I can accomplish quickly, whether it's directly related to the area I'm being frustrated by or not.  And who knows, maybe some yoga breathing will do the trick. ;)

What do you do when you hit the proverbial wall?


Basu said...

I've found that taking a deep breath and a few minutes to just calm down can do wonders, especially if I happen to be really stressed out about something. On a longer time scale I've found that reading (preferably a longer piece) is also great for calming and centering myself. A lot of things (including programming and problem-solving) become a lot easier when you're calm and your mind is at rest.

Gail Carmichael said...

So true. I should remember to force myself to stop and read something next time I get stuck on something.

Sazzad Bin Kamal said...

If its possible I get to sleep! No kidding. But if it isn't, I recite poetry or my favorite movie quotes. But again, as a science student I'm often dubious and questioning about the effectiveness of say, Taekwondo, Yoga, Meditation, Prayers and such. Even do time management techniques really work? Should you really maintain a TO DO? How? Well, there has been tremendous achievement in this arena, mostly in an unusual way. Who could think, that there will be a time, when you could Tweet it? Delicious and Digg it ! There is no way to forget your milk, since you've integrated remember the milk into your Gmail. But then, I sometimes wonder do they really make more resourceful? Wouldn't it be better If I could get some quiet place and contemplate on some Knuth's/Grimaldi books?

By the way, in any situation, when you face a block, (writer's block, programmer's block :P), its always better to keep yourself away for it for sometime.

'What we do in life, echoes in eternity' -- Maximus, Gladiator

Gail Carmichael said...

Something different works for everyone of course, but I think there is value in all of these. :)

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