Sunday, January 04, 2015

Every Day

Big goals can be daunting. Life gets in the way of us doing the things we want to do. I am a big fan of Josh Waitzkin's idea of creating smaller circles. He introduces it through the idea of punching. First he learns to punch properly building up slowly. Focusing on each stage like a beginner learning a piano piece. Each part of the punch from the stance of the feet to the way the force carries up through the core of the body and flows to the fist is like an individual note being struck. Through multiple repetitions of the process eventually the perfect punch is delivered when triggered by a thought without needing to go through each step. Like a musician who can forget the keys being struck and focus on the emotion they want to convey.

Life gets in the way though. In a martial arts contest, it is unlikely the opponent will allow you the time to telegraph a full punch and connect. Instead you have to get to the essence of the punch and learn to deliver it in a much smaller time frame. This is Waitzkin's smaller circle concept.

I think that can extend to our bigger goals. Life can get in the way, but if you reduce your goals to small achievable circles they can add up to big things. One of the things I am trying to learn is French. I had a good habit of learning new words everyday but then other priorities got in the way. Now it feels more daunting to restart the engine. If possible, rather than putting things aside, perhaps making smaller circles will allow the habit to be maintained. That and starting each day fresh. Instead of building up a backlog that becomes intimidating, perhaps it is better just to focus on each day. I always get worried when Sports teams go on consecutive victory streaks. It changes the whole dynamic of what is trying to be achieved. It is difficult to achieve but the only thing that should really matter is what you do today.  What are the things you want to do every day? Start by doing them today. If I don't have time for 10 new words, perhaps one word will do.

Small things add up. We ask kids what they learnt today. Do we ask ourselves?
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