If you read the title and felt it was negative in nature, this post is dedicated to you.
Let’s begin with criticism: “to consider the merits and demerits of and judge accordingly.” Criticism should not be something we fear or try to ignore, criticism is something we should learn to accept and embrace. But, why? Everyone has apart of them they can improve to become a better version of themselves. Only through criticism can we begin to understand what we are failing to do correctly. The next time someone criticizes you, I want you to recognize whether you become defensive or are open to the criticism. If you are open to it, and reply positively, great! If you become defensive or upset, there’s a wall we need to work on deconstructing. Once the wall is down, and you can take criticism without attempting to ‘retaliate’ with your own criticism, you are ready to begin analyzing and correcting your own shortcomings.
Let’s talk discipline: “training that corrects, molds, or perfects the mental faculties or moral character.” Discipline does not have to be a literal smack on the wrist to achieve its desired result. However, this does not mean discipline is simply getting whatever we want. To be disciplined requires a shift in our own attitudes. Which, we often-times don’t want to make the effort to do. A form of discipline (the essence of martial arts) is setting a goal and being held accountable for achieving that goal (e.g. black belt). If you say to yourself, “I’m going to do this!” but decide to quit, be ready to accept the consequences of your lack of self-discipline. Discipline requires being uncomfortable. For example, diets are hard. But, eating correctly is the sure-fired way to guarantee your health, you simply must stick to it.
Martial arts are about learning to accept criticism and grow from it; to understand what it means to be disciplined and act accordingly. Who you are will determine what that sentence means for you…
- A parent with an unruly child might need some help understanding why their child acts the way they do.
- An adult who struggles with depression needs an outside voice to help guide them through their own mental fog.
- A college student who is failing their courses or struggling to know what direction they want to take their life may just need some help with goal setting.
Whoever you are, whatever your situation is, understanding how to give and take criticism and how to become disciplined will help you to resolve your own issues. And beginning a martial art is a guaranteed way to work on developing those two skills.