Life often delivers unexpected blows.
How we deal with sudden shocks shapes our experience of life.
How do you handle the negative shocks?
- You lose a treasured item. How does it affect you?
- You are out driving… you have a flat tire. How does it affect you?
- You are waiting for a train… and it is cancelled. How does it affect you?
- Your friend cancels a dinner you were looking forward to. How do you feel?
- The air traffic controllers go on strike and your wonderful weekend away is cancelled. How does it affect you?
I came across George Leonard, author of 15 books and a teacher of the discipline of Aikido. In the video below he speaks of 4 possible ways to respond to the sudden shocks in life. He looks at 3 typical human ways of responding, and then demonstrates the Aikido path of response.
The four ways of responding that are demonstrated by George Leonard:
- Defensive/Aggressive – respond to the blow with anger and a direct attack.
- Victim – respond to the blow as a victim “Poor me, this always happens to me”.
- Denial – respond to the blow as if nothing happened. “I feel nothing, I will go on as I am.”
- Aikido Blending – respond to the blow by centering myself, really feeling how the blow affects me, accepting the blow, accepting my feelings and then acting once I have blended the energy of the external blow with my own.
I have been researching the concept of mastery recently. What does it take to achieve excellence in a domain? In a sport, playing the piano, writing, speaking?
George Leonard’s book “Mastery” is based on the Aikido approach to developing the mental and physical aspects of excellence. He speaks of the 5 keys to mastery. That will be a future blog post. His first step: Find a teacher. I find myself uncomfortable with this… Is it true that the first step to mastery is finding a teacher? I don’t know if I agree…