Anger is a hot topic, it’s about fiery, heated emotions with the energy to drive us to unthinking acts. Whenever someone does something regrettable out of anger, others who are in a calm state easily criticize the person, accompanied by, “I would never do that.”
This difference between how we think while calm vs. who someone thinks while angry or emotionally charged is called The Hot-Cold Empathy Gap. We just can’t relate.
The most apt term for being a slave to anger is, author of Emotional Intelligence, Daniel Goleman’s term, “emotional hijacking,” whenever emotions trump reason.
Trying to teach anger management while in a cold emotional state is bound to fail due to anger’s hijacking power. It’s like learning to swim without every getting in the water.
To successfully practice controlling anger requires you to be in a hot emotional state, to actually be angry first.
The lessons we teach our students at SMAA are embodied, they are not just platitudes; they are taught linking the mind and body.
One Powerful Lesson students are learning this month involves teachers and assistant teacher to repeatedly push them, eliciting anger and the very real urge to strike back.
Now, in a hot state, students learn to be aware of their own anger, to breathe, calm down, decide and act non-violently.
Of course, this is all done with full explanations of the drill and its purpose, before, during and after the drill so student understand no part of the drill is actual malice.
So when your child tells you his teachers were pushing him around and making him angry this month…we are, with the expressed purpose of managing and dissolving anger non-violently.
Anger is a natural, at times beneficial human emotion that helps us recognize and respond to threats. What we do with this emotional information is up to us.
This month we are teaching our students to manage their anger for the better.
It’s a fascinating, imperative lesson I’m happy to teach.
Anger usually manifests in violence, in word or deed, as the quickest way to overcome a perceived threat. Violence is the default problem-solving strategy children use until they are taught more pro-social solutions to problems and conflicts.
Physically, you can tell when someone is ready to lash out in anger when you see their fists clench. If you are in a heated conversation with someone and you see their fists clench, don’t be surprised to soon see those fists flying toward your face.
Anger, of course, breeds regret; we hurt others when we would not have, had cooler heads prevailed.
Anger thrusts us into quick, thoughtless action, the simplest action being to make a fist and hit.
Mental Strategies like “Stop and Think,” are beneficial, yet sometimes Physical Strategies are even more effective.
Fortunately,The Kenpo Salute our students learn provides a powerful strategy to align with this impulse to lash out and literally, put a lid on it.
You see The Salute in every class, the hand covering the fist. The Salute represents the Warrior (the body) and the Scholar (the mind). We remind students to “cover our weapon” as a reminder that our minds should control our bodies (the hand covering the fist).
When a student wants to lash out, the simple solution to control this behavior is to align with the motion of punching. Instead of punching someone else, the student simply redirects this tendency and punches his fist into his hand, making The Salute.
It’s as if he catches his anger in his own hand before he hurts someone. This gesture prevents a student from lashing out because he cannot simultaneously hit another person and punch himself in the palm.
Now, after making The Salute, the student can take a breath and remind himself he is covering his weapon. When the angry outburst is controlled, this allows the student time to think and use other mental strategies to resolve conflict peacefully.
Anger is an emotional hijacking that produces rash actions, actions we’d rather not take, actions we’d take back if we could.
Simple physical strategies, like making The Salute, can eliminate the pain of regret.
Yesterday we had some friends over for brunch and I got into a fascinating conversation.
Three of us somehow got onto the topic of our exercise regimes, and specifically what each of us does to stay on track and talk ourselves into working out when we don’t want to.
Sarah, who, years later, still uses the WarriorFit workout I invented, mentioned a time when her boss intruded on her tight workout schedule.
As he (or was it she?) prattled on about something fairly unimportant, she was getting more and more anxious about her exercise window closing.
All three of us have these “dedicated, scheduled times” we adhere to that create powerful HABITS that we don’t have to think about.
That’s one Master Key to perseverance.
Paul’s little story was another.
One of the strategies I frequently use to motivate myself is imagining how I will feel when I am finished working out — I always feel great.
Thinking of the end result gets me through the rough spots and periods of low-motivation.
Paul was at the rec center and overheard a conversation between two elderly men.
One said, “I tell myself, ‘I’ve never regretted a workout.’”
I thought this was brilliant, simply brilliant. A prime motivator for all of us is the question, “will it be worth it?”
This gentleman gives himself the pat (and true) answer that obviously has worked well into his advanced age.
Add that question to your repertoire.
People who persevere are no different from those who don’t; there is no magic willpower gene that makes us continue when we don’t feel like it.
The ONLY difference is that people who persevere learn and apply specific techniques every day to build habits of thought and action that keep them on the path of success. Often times a Lack of Will is just a Lack of Skill.
Think about that the next time you think you or your child doesn’t have what it takes to persevere.
Success leaves clues…
Ah, the New Year. This is the time when we are supposed to clear out the old and usher in the new, to wipe the slate clean and start all over. Or so they say.
What kind of way to go through life is that?
I can’t imagine wiping my brain clean of all the knowledge and experience I worked hard for each year and thinking that starting from scratch every January is a good strategy.
It’s really daft when you think about it.
Last year, January 2012, I decided to buck the trend and not to focus on anything new. I’ve lived long enough and have had enough different experiences that I thought I’d rather take a look at things I started but didn’t finish, and other things I got pretty good at but not great, and get back to them.
This starting from scratch every year mindset is like building the foundation of a house. Then, instead of building the walls and roof, you go and build a new foundation each year. Looking back after a few years all you see are a bunch of empty foundations. Not one complete house.
I played the piano as a child. I took it up again as an adult. I stopped my lessons for 2 months to work on my book. I scheduled my return date, Jan. 10th, to resume my lessons.
What I DIDN’T do was decide to take up a different musical instrument and try to start from scratch just because it’s January.
Some people have a special closet, the one full of gear from 20 different activities that they gave up on all too soon, vainly giving in to NEW every year.
I wouldn’t forgive myself if I were a Yellow Belt in 10 different martial arts, or could only play Chopsticks on 10 different instruments because of the siren song of “novelty.”
Last year I published another book, Systema Revelations. The many articles that comprise the book were written years ago. Last year I decided, not to write something totally new, but to FINISH something I had mostly done. To RE-NEW my efforts. 2013 is, for me, a continuation of many projects that I must finish this year; I have a computer full of them.
In 2013, I recommend you take a look at what’s old and make it new again by renewing your commitment to finish or to take things to a higher level. You may just have to add the small, next step to your effort to achieve something extraordinary.
You may be eating healthy already, but drinking soda may be the last little tweak you need to make to drop those last few pounds. You don’t need some crazy overhaul resolution that won’t last more than 3 weeks anyway.
My point is to ride out the momentum you already have home and add to it to accelerate you growth.
This year RE-NEW for Success.
I just heard on NPR today that the Zig Ziglar has died at the age of 86. If you don’t know who Zig Ziglar is, let me begin by telling you how I first heard of him.
I had just graduated from college and moved to Fort Meyers, Florida to continue my martial arts training. I was staying in the living room of a student I had met and have since become close friends with, and I had just begun teaching at Mr. Wedlake’s martial arts school. I was also working at a bike shop on Fort Myers Beach in the daytime, before classes started. I didn’t really know what I wanted to do professionally, but I did know that I wanted my own martial arts school. Working for my teacher gave me the vision that it was possible to teach martial arts full-time without being distracted by “a real job”.
While in Florida, my father thought he would help me out so he emailed me two cassette tapes and told me to listen to them. It was one of the best things he ever did for me, a young adult. One of these cassettes had the name Zig Ziglar on it with the word “goals” on the other side. On my way to the martial arts school, I popped the cassette into the player of my Dodge Aries K, nicknamed Blue Thunder, and was immediately enthralled.
Up to this point, I’d never heard any type of motivational speaking outside of church or my dad’s other favorite speaker, Leo Buscaglia, on PBS. Leo spoke mainly about love while the Zig was talking to me about hopes, dreams and what I would make with my life. It was exactly what I needed at that point in time because these were the questions I sought to answer as I wrote in my journal sitting under a palm tree beside the pool in our apartment complex.
Zig gave me the idea to put up visual reminders of my goals everywhere through his “Jockey shorts” story. He was looking at a magazine and saw a picture of a model wearing jockey shorts. He thought to himself that he wanted to look like the guy in the ad, and not like himself, so he ripped out the picture and put it up on his bathroom mirror. That way he could look at the picture every morning for inspiration and to remind himself of the goal he was working toward. He even went so far as to put his weight in a new book he was publishing. The catch was that the weight he wrote down in his book was about 46 pounds less than he currently weighed. Because he made it public, it forced him to actually lose the weight before the book came out. Long before scientists like Roy Baumeister studied willpower and came to the same conclusions, Zig was using such proven strategies to achieve his goals.
I went through Zig’s goal setting process for all parts of my life:
- state your goal
- set a completion date
- list the knowledge you will need
- to list the groups you will work with
- list the obstacles to your goal
- list the steps you will have to take to achieve your goal, your plan of action
- state why you want your goal, “what’s in it for me?”
One of my goals was to open a martial arts school, but I realized Florida was not the place, Colorado was what I wanted and chose to live. As soon as I got my own room (when Ozzie realize I wasn’t going away we found a two-bedroom apartment in the complex and moved), I hunted down a map of the state of Colorado, bought a really ugly Colorado Rockies hat and put up posters of snowboarders and a No Fear poster of a rock climber on my bedroom walls. I researched all I could about the state of Colorado, narrowing down my choice to Boulder County. I sketched out what my school would look like and made a 3-D drawing of the interior, which I also put on my wall. I didn’t have a school or a business, but according to Zig what I needed and what I could have was a plan. I began spending my free time in the library and checked out every book I could on how to open my own business. I bought a giant three-ring binder, and without any help laid out every aspect of the martial arts school and how to run it I could. I created a massive business plan in my spare time. Oddly enough, when I presented this plan to David Macy he rented me the space for my first school on the strength of my business plan alone.
Zig was a phenomenal speaker who got his start as a door-to-door salesman selling cookware. He began motivating other salesman and eventually generalized his lessons to the rest of life. Zig is famous for his quote, “you can have everything you want if you help enough people get when they want.” As far as guiding principles go, this is one of the best because it begins with service to others instead of greed and selfishness. It acknowledges that each of us has our own needs and desires, but the best way to fulfill them is to help other people first, to give before we receive. A bonus of following this advice is that research has shown that helping other people makes us happier than the actual goals we’re striving for. The real gold is in building strong relationships.
Third, was the idea that motivation wears off and that disciplined action is what is needed for long-term success. Success is about much more than just feeling good, it really is about doing what you know you need to do when you feel the worst. Motivational speakers get a bad rap because they pump everyone up and move the show onto the next town, leaving everyone feeling good for a while but without the discipline to take the necessary steps and follow through once the speaker is gone. Sometimes we all need to be pumped up, but what we really need to do is get to it– now.
Zig Ziglar is dead but we can all benefit from his expertise through his speeches and writings. I’m thankful for that, I’m thankful that he chose to share his expertise and I’m thankful for my father for exposing me to Zig Ziglar.
Rest in peace.
The following video is the 1-year update on our 2011 Winner of the Scornavacco Martial Arts Academy’s $11,000 Contest That Changes Lives. Click to Watch.
Before I get to that…I’d like to welcome Angela Walter to the SMAA Master Club. Angela has set her goal to earn her Adult Black Belt before she leaves for college. She’s on her way!
So, would you like your child to have better social skills?
If you answered yes, then one answer comes from an unlikely place, according to an article published yesterday in the New York Times.
I just love this: Read Fiction (and for younger children, read to them)
Yes, sitting there reading a fiction book has been shown by psychologists at York University in Canada to hone our social skills.
Fiction readers could better understand people, empathize with them and see things from their point of view.
Fiction also gives children a better theory of mind and the ability to understand and predict other peoples’ intentions.
NOTE: researchers did not see a benefit from watching TV or video, only reading.
“The brain, it seems, does not make much of a distinction between reading about an experience and encountering it in real life; in each case, the same neurological regions are stimulated. Keith Oatley, an emeritus professor of cognitive psychology at the University of Toronto (and a published novelist), has proposed that reading produces a vivid simulation of reality, one that “runs on minds of readers just as computer simulations run on computers.” Fiction — with its redolent details, imaginative metaphors and attentive descriptions of people and their actions — offers an especially rich replica. Indeed, in one respect novels go beyond simulating reality to give readers an experience unavailable off the page: the opportunity to enter fully into other people’s thoughts and feelings.”
So promote reading as much as I do and make sure your child spends more time in front of a page than in front of a screen (unless it’s an e-reader)
Remember: All Leaders are Readers
Here’s the link to the original article:
Happy St. Patrick’s Day!
If April is the cruelest month then March is the luckiest, thanks to the Irish. People extol the virtues of luck, and being lucky, as if it is some magical quality that you have no control over. But let’s take a closer look at luck.
- Are you the lucky type that always gets the parking space right next to the store?
- Are you “lucky in love?”
- Do you produce lucky streaks at the craps table in Vegas because you are on a roll?
- Do things always seem to go your way?
If so, or if you know someone like this, we need to talk.
There is another way to describe this type of luck, its called random chance.
I’ll bet that if you add up all the times you were looking for that perfect parking space but had to settle for one a little farther back you’d see that, statistically speaking, you are probably about average in getting the prime spot. Plus, the higher and faster the turnover rate, the more likely you are to find an open spot up front.
And no previous roll of the dice affects the probabilities on the current roll; it doesn’t change them or make “7’s” more likely than they already are. That streak is just a statistical hiccup that eventually averages out in the long run.
Sorry to burst your “lucky bubble.” However….I do have Good News!
You CAN affect how lucky you are.
“The harder I work, the more luck I seem to have.”
Once you see the connection between luck and probability, you now have the key to being as lucky as you want. Let’s define luck as a good event, lucky meaning having GOOD LUCK. Let’s also say that a “lucky outcome” definitely happens once every ten times, so 10% of the time:
Try 1 time, you have a 10% chance of a lucky event.
(people would see you as not very lucky)
Try 10 times, you are guaranteed a lucky event.
(people would say you got lucky)
Try 100 times, you are guaranteed 10 lucky events.
(people would say you are a Lucky Person!)
So how do you control your luck?
Luck Secret #1: Try More
By the one thing you can directly control — how many times you attempt something. The more you attempt, the greater the likelihood of a lucky event popping up. This is called “The Law of Large Numbers.” Babe Ruth hit lots of home runs…but he also struck out more than any other hitter of his day. What do we remember, the home runs or the strike outs?
Luck Secret #2: Try Longer
We have a saying, “Black Belts are just White Belts Who Didn’t Quit” but no one would consider Black Belts lucky. We all know earning a Black Belt takes hard work, but take note of this luck secret: the longer you are in the game the better chance you have of being in a position to win. Good events sometimes need time to find you.
Luck Secret #3: Be Somewhere
I know people whose lives consist of the same routine. They wake up, go to work, come home and watch TV. And repeat daily. The narrow scope of their routine only allows for a limited possibility of experience. There’s little chance of a Lucky Event happening without changing their routine and getting out in the world, doing different things, meeting new people and going to different places.
Luck Secret #4: Be Prepared
“Luck is when Opportunity Meets Preparation”
Be prepared to take advantage of lucky opportunities as they arise. I’m sure you have many opportunities knock on your door but you are not in a position to profit from them. If you are looking for a great deal on a new home, NOW is the time because people are walking away from their homes and everything is “on sale.” If you are prepared, you can tell everyone you found a lucky deal.
If you want to increase your luck remember that L.U.C.K. stands for Laboring Under Correct Knowledge.
One final story about luck:
A man asks God to win the lottery. (now there’s a truly lucky event).
Each week when he doesn’t win he asks, “God, why won’t you help me?”
To which God replies,”At least you have to buy a lottery ticket.”
Check us out on Newsteam Boulder!
Click the link for the full story:
Every once in a great while something comes along that takes all the rules of the game, chucks them out the window and creates what Thomas Kuhn called a paradigm shift, a new world-view like the earth being round.
I witnessed such a game-changer this weekend as the host of “The Martial Arts First Aid Kit Workshop” with Bill Parravano, The Knee Pain Guru.
I’ve known Bill as a martial artist for years and knew that “healing” was his real job, but as we are all wont to do I never really gave much thought about it. I never saw first-hand what exactly his healing work consisted of until last year.
I was so jazzed about the little taste of it I got that I set up last weekend’s workshop.
Fixing a shoulder injury I had for years was great, but watching a room full of students with various aches, pains and not-completely-healed injuries walk out of the workshop feeling better than they had in years blew me away…and he just scratched the surface.
Bill’s healing work is based on putting your body in a position of comfort so your nervous system sends out the relaxation signal and allows your body to attend to and heal past trauma by itself…
And the best part is that it is Painless.
What Bill does is far removed from painful manipulations and pressing into your body.
Don’t get me wrong, I love those too but Bill’s program is much more sustainable and many of the exercises can be done BY YOURSELF.
It’s funny because several people in the workshop immediately wanted to share what they learned with family and friends.
I’m no different.
I will be integrating his teaching into my own with my adult students and I’m going to help Bill reach as many people as we can. Like I said, as far as health and healing goes, The Martial Arts First Aid Kit is a game-changer.
You can check out more about Bill at: TheKneePainGuru.com
And check back in a few days if you want to receive updates, like when the Video Program of the workshop will be available, at: TheMartialArtsFirstAidKit.com (it won’t be live for a few days)