If our aim is to be of service, one of the pitfalls we must learn to avoid is conflating other people’s agendas with our actual purpose.
The desire to serve, regardless of what form that service takes, requires us to be somewhat sensitive to the needs and desires of those to whom we are trying to be of service.
If we are to be truly useful, however, this sensitivity needs to be balanced with an unwavering clarity of purpose.
We have to know why, to whom, and in what way we are trying to be of service.
This also means understanding and accepting that any ideas and agenda that pulls us away from our purpose are a distraction from that purpose.
Divergence from our path diminishes our usefulness along that path.
In order to maintain our bearing, we must establish boundaries and learn to protect them.
We must learn to say no to distractions.
And, we must learn to do so with tact and grace because our goal is to be of service, after all, not to be cruel or dismissive.
By always referring back to our purpose, we give ourselves a standard through which to make our decisions.
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 Kogen Dojo Self Defense Academy where he teaches Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu.
All photos by Robert Van Valkenburgh unless otherwise noted.
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