If we want to know what works and what does not, if we want to know what matters and makes the most difference in our lives, we must first begin with some degree of consistency.
By establishing a consistent baseline of values, principles, and behaviors, it becomes much easier to determine the causes of our success or failure.
Consistency gives us the ability to add or subtract new ideas, new input, and new actions into our lives in a way that allows us to test their affect on us, on the way we feel, on the way we perform, and on the way we interact with others.
By starting with consistent controls, we can add or subtract variables to or from our lives and produce some relatively reliable data points with regards to efficacy and outcome.
The easiest way to do this is by first with limitations, restrictions, and boundaries on the aspects of our lives we wish to examine and improve.
In other words, if we want to get down to the causes and conditions of our success or failure, we must remove that which is nonessential and then add things back slowly and deliberately.
This is true whether we are talking about diet, exercise, productivity, or even creativity.
By first eliminating all that is not essential from our lives, we are then better able to determine for ourselves what truly matters or does not, what is necessary or is not, and what adds benefit or value to our lives or what causes undesirable negative consequences.
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 unless otherwise noted.
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