I Can. I Will.

Lesson 27 Chapter 1 Module 1

Most of us in the Martial Arts profession continue to work on ways to strengthen our program, making sure that it is the best it can be. I'm no different, and in the past few years I have placed a special emphasis on trying to develop a set of mental exercises that will help my students practice and benefit from the power of proper focus. What has evolved is a series of nine affirmations designed to improve the way we view our life. I have named these affirmations “The Mastery Mindset”.

Let's begin by discussing the first Mastery Mindset affirmation. It is "I Can. I Will."

"I Can. I Will." refers to your Attitude, your Belief and your Commitment. It is an affirmation that you WILL get through any challenge that you are currently facing. It is about being stubborn in a positive way. Allow me to illustrate this mindset with a story.

About 20 years ago, I was wandering through Sears on a Sunday afternoon. I stumbled upon a treadmill that happened to be the exact one my wife wanted. It was on sale, so I bought it on the spot. When I brought my receipt to the warehouse for pick up the clerk asked me what kind of vehicle I was driving. It hadn't occurred to me until that moment that I had driven my brand new, bright red Mazda Miata to Sears that day. Upon telling the clerk this, he said that there was "no way" I would be able to get my treadmill home in that car. Normally, I would have agreed, but something in his voice caused me to take this as a challenge and I knew that somehow, some way, I would get the treadmill home in my Miata - no doubt about it.

So, with the top down and the treadmill hanging several inches off the side of the car and several feet out the back, I drove out of the Sears parking lot. I couldn't see a bit on the passenger's side and I could only use first and third gear, since the big box was jammed up against my stick shift, but I made it home. I still remember stopping at red lights and seeing other drivers shaking their heads, obviously thinking, "What is that guy doing?".

Now I'm not claiming it was a very bright thing to do and I would probably try to discourage friends from attempting similar endeavors today. But I think it illustrates perfectly the concept of "I Can. I Will." Every one of us at some time in our life, has shown the ability to be stubborn, to refuse to take “No” for an answer. To be fully committed to the completion of a task.

As for me, being stubborn comes naturally; the concept of "I Can. I Will." is part of the way I'm wired. What I'm working on is using it in the right way for the right reasons. Instead of insisting on carting home an eight-foot long treadmill in a pocket size car, can I insist on teaching the very best class possible? Can I refuse to lower my standards regarding my diet and exercise habits? Can I be absolutely committed to taking care of my team, my family and my community? I don't always get it right, but I like to think that I'm mindfully trying.

What about you? What are you stubborn about? What are you fully committed to? I challenge you to take some time to figure it out. I'm sure that in some ways you are just as stubborn as I am. Are you channeling this attribute in the right direction or wasting it on trivialities? I challenge you to adopt the first Mastery Mindset – "I Can. I Will." – and apply it to the things that matter most in your life.

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