We sometimes use the things we are good at as a way of excusing ourselves from doing the things that are difficult.
Staying the same is easier than putting in the effort that is required for improvement.
This is especially true when that which we want or need to improve at takes us in the opposite direction of our comfort.
As a result, we develop habits, beliefs, and behaviors that protect us from extreme change.
We become skilled in ways of avoiding or bypassing the need for improvement.
We settle into patterns and routines that seem to work for us.
They seem to help us.
So, we focus on them.
We accentuate them.
We rely on them.
These patterns and routines soon become our character.
They become our strengths.
But, simply being good at something does not mean it is the right thing or the best thing.
Strengths are often used to hide, bypass, or avoid working on weakness.
We begin to tell ourselves and others that our perceived strengths are who we are.
We tell ourselves and others that we cannot or have no reason to change.
After all, we are strong in this one way that seems to be working for us.
Instead of looking for ways to improve, we look for ways to protect who we have become.
We settle for what we are good at because it is what we are used to doing and being.
What we are good at soon becomes an excuse for not being better, for not improving, and not evolving.
With this in mind, when we find ourselves feeling especially confident and strong, it may benefit us to pause, even if for a brief moment, to consider what weakness we are ignoring, avoiding, or denying in order to be who we are.
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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