Distracting Ourselves (To Excuse Ourselves)

If we have goals we want to achieve and the means by which to achieve them, the greatest battle we face from day to day is the battle against distraction.

Quite often, what stands between us and our goals is clarity, time, and resources. That is, our goals are not clearly defined, measurable, and realistic, we have too many other commitments and, therefore, have no time to work toward what we want to achieve, and/or we do not have enough money or support to do the things we want to do.

When this is the case, it is easy to be a disappointed daydreamer, hoping and wishing things were different, telling ourselves that, if only our circumstances changed for the better, we would do great things. Or, maybe we use these undesirable conditions as fuel for our internal fire, as the thing that drives us to improve, to set goals, and to work toward them a little bit at a time until we are in a better position to achieve them.

Regardless of how we get there, once we are in the clear, however, once our circumstances change in our favor and we gain clarity, we find the time, and our financial or community resources fall into place, we face an entirely new challenge. Our previous excuses no longer bear weight and we must face ourselves and the possibility of success in whatever goal, dream, or aspiration we once claimed to have.

With nothing stopping us from the outside, now we have to make a decision. We can either follow our hearts toward that which we having been pining over or we can forget what once seemed to matter so much and take on a new set of of excuses and distractions that will keep us from going after what we desire.


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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