Tuesday, December 8, 2009

The Magic of Five Minutes


It is often said that people overestimate what they can do in a month and underestimate what they can accomplish in a year. How about what you can do in five minutes? I want to share a tip with you that I learned from my high school art teacher. He must have done something right. I have made my living as an artist for over twenty five years. Do you want to know his secret? Here it is... "The Magic of Five Minutes".

How does it work? When we are fired up and motivated we can't wait to get to the dojo or get started working out. As we all know it's not always that way. What do we do when we are less than fired up. Many times we get cranking and try to fire ourselves up. We might even set higher goals and commit to working twice as hard. More often than not we fail to fall for our own bluster and bravado. We get overwhelmed by our own aspirations and can end up throwing up our hands and saying "whats the use". A lot of times It just doesn't work.

As an artist it looks like this. Instead of saying "Tonight I'm going to start my Sistine Chapel!!!". Instead I just say to myself "Just draw. Just draw for five minutes". In doing this you give yourself permission do stick your toe in the pool. You get started. That's the biggest hurdle. Once you are over that, more often than not you can get into the process far enough to experience "flow". When you do that you can ride to the end of an enjoyable and productive session.

It works with the martial arts as well. Give yourself a break. Don't say to yourself "I'm going to create my own style" or "I gotta get into the UFC". Tell yourself "Just five minutes". You might be surprised how long you go and what you end up accomplishing.

3 comments:

Mark said...

What I do during those moments of not being enthused to train is this (it will sound simplistic, but it works for me). When I have a thought like, "I don't feel like working out tonight," that's it. I have the thought, then let it go. I used to always rationalize why I should go, or debate whether to go or not, or some other waste of mental energy. Now when I have the thought, the most I will do is give a nod of acknowledgement that it is the way I feel, but then focus back on driving.

As for flow, I had a very brief moment of flow when we were working on the application of Pyong Ahn Sah Dan on Saturday. I was struggling with that as usual, but on the last try before Mr. S moved us on to forms, I was halfway through the technique when all the mental chatter disappeared. Suddenly my partner was rolling across the floor, and I was quiet inside. And it felt like there was no effort to what I had done.

Mark Cook said...

Mark,
Thanks for stopping by.You approach sounds similar and very insightful. You don't deny the feeling or urge then just get on with it. I'm also glad to got to experience that "No effort" feeling. It is really a cool feeling. It's nice to have you back in town.

Joseph Sapulich said...

Mark!
It's been a while. Great to see your blogs online. Thanks again for being one of the crew who helped lead me to the Lord. Prison ministry is still going strong——close to twenty years now. Keep kicking!