What is the biggest obstacle to our improvement?
Our biggest enemy is the weakness / fear that keeps us away from errors and therefore from the lessons behind them.
One part of guilt is in each of us, the other is in those who have supported and fed this natural human instinct of homologation.
At school (but also in a lot of family situations) the direct experience of the world is often precluded and the students are therefore educated not to experiment first-person but to automatically believe in second-hand “truth” (sometimes neutral statements, sometimes ingenuous, sometimes voted for not so noble ends).
Since children, we are taught to memorize and repeat “correct” notions / behaviors in such a way as to:
- Reach (mediocre) results more quickly
- Avoid as many problems as possible
- Passing on the experience of the great of the past
- Suffocate / limit the other human instinct, the desire for experimentation
What does it mean not to face mistakes
This educational method (which is not universally incorrect), if taken literally and extended to all fields of human experience, risks transforming us into:
- Empty machines without initiative
- Leaves transported by a wind that we do not know
- Copies of copies of increasingly faded copies
Both in life and in martial arts:
- If in our path we do not commit mistakes, we are not becoming experts, we have just stopped learning (if we have ever started)
- If we are not facing difficulties, we have not taken the best way, we have taken other people’s way (good or bad that it should be)
- If we do not risk anything, we do not know if we are walking in the wrong or in the right direction until we arrive (and it’s too late)
- If we do not think first-person to what to do, there is no difference between us and a piece of paper (on which the others, more or less deservingly, write)
The god of experience eats only errors
Accepting to make mistakes means:
- To leave out of our comfort area to really achieve results (with time, with fatigue, with pain but at the same time with honor)
- To continue our activity even when things start to go wrong (and to fully enjoy then the fruits of our successes)
- To learn something to use personally and to share with others (to give a small help to evolution)
- In some case to reach results normally precluded (read The use of unorthodox methods)
- To never ignore doubts, thoughts and alternatives (read How to learn faster)
When we do something that we feel is truly relevant for us (in work, in martial arts, in any field, read A relentless pursuit), a moment must come when we wonder if the way they taught us is the best or if there is room for improvement: we could be right, we could be wrong, it’s completely normal but we will never know it until we will try.
It is not a secret that most of the time we will fail and it is precisely through these innumerable failures that a man (or a woman) comes to master something. Every wound, every mistake if analyzed intelligently (without giving in to discouragement, etc.) is:
- A teaching on how to do right (read Analysis and improvement of performance)
- An exponential approach to the truth
- A direction to exclude and therefore a further step (read How to bridge our failings)
Only by personally and deeply trying out all that is wrong we can understand how to achieve the result that we have chosen.
If we do not force us to walk this way, we will never really learn anything and we will never get something really ours.
We must not be afraid of the lost time (read Motivate ourselves), nor of the suffering that entails a more difficult and misunderstood path; what awaits us is:
- A knowledge that will be truly ours, that we have earned with our hands (read The right thing to do)
- That level of self-esteem / happiness that only self-determination can give
To conclude it’s important to stress that:
- “No man is an island”, other people experience is extremely precious but we have to test directly what we choose to follow
- Whether we choose homologation or self-determination we will be forced to make mistakes, so it is worth trying
- Choosing the most difficult road has one last advantage, it makes us stronger and stronger, day by day
In the next article of this series, we will deepen the topic.
- How to solve any kind of life problem – A scientific method to face life difficulties
- The true heart of 6DKF – How to reach a high-level of mastering of 6 Dragons Kung Fu
Reply in the comments and share your experience:
- Can you tell an example of personal experience (small or large) that you have earned by going against conformism?
Author: Master Kongling
Founder of 6 Dragons Kung Fu.
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