Recently I was working on some exercises. It was some light lower-upper body connection training and forward-backward step practice. Then I thought to myself how unimpressive these basics are. Like this is nothing to write home about to speak. Nothing to impress others with.
Why? Just because it has no spectacular effect to the human eye? Just because there are no flashing lights, so to speak? Just because it looks, somewhat, normal? Ordinary?
Doing Things to Impress Others
This event made me look at some points inside myself and my life. That is, how often we condemn specific drills or things in life as less. Because in our consciousness, they are labeled as ‘unimpressive.’ This shows that we do things we do to impress others. We are not doing them necessarily for us. For ourselves. For Self.
For example, I may be doing my martial arts to impress someone else. Be it friends, family, or even the people I don’t like – sort of to show off to them. But I am thus not doing it for me. For me, because it helps me be a better person—a better person for me and others.
And when we don’t receive the likes, compliments, or otherwise positive attention through what and how we are showing off to others, we may end up dropping that thing. Be it a particular exercise, certain writing styles, specific ways of painting, or other types of expressions that bring us joy.
Giving Something up Just Because Others Don’t Love It as Much as We Do
But because others aren’t ‘buying’ our expression with their attention, likes, comments, shares, and so on – we may end up condemning those expressions unworthy of our time, effort, and focus.
We then try to seek the expressions or things to do, which others will reciprocate with a like, share, comment, applause, praise, or ‘friendship’ or follow on a social media platform.
Some things are ‘unimpressive’, but only because they may be common actions. Walking is rather an unimpressive task if you will. But only because we are used to it. It is familiar to us. Many others can do it as well.
But when we were learning to walk, or before we could walk – walking was anything else but unimpressive. It was exciting, new, exhilarating, and we wanted to master it. People who can’t walk due to accidents or birth defects, rendering them that way – I am sure the action of walking isn’t something unimpressive.
Impressed or Unimpressed, It’s All Subjective
Basically that what we stamp with the ‘unimpressive’ label in our minds is subjective.
Practicing stepping in martial arts is nothing flashy, but it is the basis of most martial arts. If you can’t step correctly, you can’t move efficiently. If you can’t move efficiently, you can’t position yourself effectively. If you can’t position yourself effectively, you cannot utilize your whole body for strikes or kicks effectively. And if you can’t do that, you cannot conserve and manage your energy well.
This just a few points that interlink to show how a ‘unimpressive’ activities such as ‘practicing stepping’ are a foundational platform from which other ‘greater’ skills or effects build on.
Missing out on Greatness Through Doing Things To Impress Others
The same goes when we apply this to other areas of our life outside martial arts. Writing about our experiences, for example, may seem dull, basic, or unimpressive. However, any additional day of self-honest writing, with a focus on seeking self-understanding and finding solutions to our problems and the things in us and our lives we want to change – is foundational and accumulative.
Writing by writing builds up understanding, resolve, realizations, clarity, and so much more. From which, then the ‘bigger things’ like something self-changing or transformative in ourselves and our lives can emerge from through time and consistency.
It Takes One Realization to Transform, but We May Never Arrive at It If…
It takes one writing or one sentence, or one realization to change something so entirely for us and our life. But that one writing, or sentence, or realization may only come one ‘randomly’ specific day. But, if we never did it because we defined writing as basic, ordinary, or unimpressive, we may never arrive at that one transformative writing, point, sentence, or realization.
I found that precisely those ‘unimpressive’ drills, things, and actions are the basics that require our utmost repetitive attention. Fundamentals are the foundation of all ‘bigger’ things.
Where in our life do we neglect the basics or things because of judging it as unimpressive or boring? And then don’t give it the attention it deserves? Not just in martial arts. That is only one part that may be in our life – but the rest of our lives?
- Seeing something as unimpressive is subjective. Everyone has a different viewpoint on that. And often, we condemn the things we do as unimpressive. But to other people, it usually is not unimpressive. We tend to judge ourselves quickly and project that self-judgment onto everyone else. Expecting them to see us the same way we see ourselves.
- Labeling something as unimpressive is a judgment we cast onto it. Be it onto ourselves or someone else. And judgments never do any good. They are absent of any form of suggested solutions. Anything void of a solution being proposed to improve or correct the thing we judge is better kept to oneself and not spoken or acted out. It does more harm than good.
- Basic exercises or applications like ‘practicing stepping’ in martial arts, or journaling one’s experiences are NOT inferior actions that deserve no attention or respect. Basics form fundamentals. And everything else is built on fundamentals. Weak fundamentals produce weak things that grow from them. Strong fundamentals breed strong and reliable things build on top of them.
- Give love to the fundamentals. Be it exercises or other actions like writing because they are the pillars on which everything else will stand on.
- Today’s unimpressive basics are the foundation of tomorrows impressive greatness.
- Focus on SELF and building a life and skills to be proud of for oneself, instead of trying to impress others.