Pivoting For Progress

Move forward decisively and purposefully, but leave room to pivot.

Whether in relationships, business, fitness, or martial arts, once we know where we want to go and we have a plan to get there, it is important to begin moving in that direction without haste and to stick with the plan as best we can. No plan is perfect, however, nor can it account for every contingency, variable, or obstacle we may face along the way. This fact should not stop us from planning or from acting on our plans, though.

If we want to make any progress in our lives, toward our goals and aspirations, we have to assume that there is a path forward in whatever direction we choose to go, or we have to make a plan to create the path we need. This requires a kind of progressive optimism. It requires a mindset that tells us, regardless of the fact that we may, no, that we will run into difficulty along the way, that we will not stop until we get where we are going.

Sometimes, in spite of our will to progress, in spite our optimism, and in spite of our best planning, we come face-to-face with a challenge that we simply have no way to overcome with the tools at our disposal. If the obstacle in our path is truly insurmountable, we must choose whether to keep moving forward, crashing into it to the bitter end, to quit and go back to from where we came, or to humble ourselves, look for creative solutions in other directions, and pivot. In the end, the true path forward requires us to be both open-minded and agile.


Holistic Budo: As it is in budo, so too it is in life. As it is in life, so too it is in budo.

Robert Van Valkenburgh is co-founder of Taikyoku Mind & Body and Kogen Dojo where he teaches Taikyoku Budo and Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu.

All photos by Robert Van Valkenburgh (artist unknown, unless otherwise noted).

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