Every Master Was Once A Beginner

I believe in three letters.

A

P

‘D’ stands for desire. One  need to have a burning desire to make one’s dreams come true. As Paulo Coelho nicely put it in The Alchemist, “when you want something, all the universe conspires in helping you to achieve it.”

‘A’ stands for action. Dreams without continuous action are nothing but daydreaming. Only action brings true knowledge, and only action propels us forward.

‘P’ stands for patience or perseverance. Patience is the ultimate ingredient that makes the dish complete, fresh and tasty. Indomitable confidence combined with the previous two steps can create magic results.

The difference between possible and impossible is only in the amount of time invested.

This is why we must never give up.

Advertisements

Can We Defeat Fear?

Everybody fears something. Whether we realize it or not, whether it is conscious or subconscious, we are all afraid of something.

I consider fear to be one of the biggest sins. As Carlos Castaneda put it, fear is the first enemy for the man of knowledge.

So the question is – can we defeat our fears?

I don’t think so.

I already addressed the subject in the post on the biggest virtues. Briefly, in order to deal with fear, one needs to practice courage. Think about darkness stepping away when there is light.

The key word here is practice. We all require courage in different situations. Yet I don’t think there will be a day when we can say honestly and sincerely: “I am not afraid of anything!”.

The point is not about having or not having fear.

The point is whether we face it or surrender.

Other posts related to Carlos Castaneda:

Castaneda And Frankl: A Bridge Between Esoterics And Psychology
Death Makes Life Meaningful
What Is The Way of The Marital Arts? (Part 1)
What Positive Attitude Really Means
A Cubic Centimeter Of Chance
We Must Never Stop Dreaming
The Four Enemies Of Knowledge

One Thing That Martial Arts Teach

Martial arts teach many things. This is not even discussed. Simply because it’s an axiom.

Moreover, different people can learn different things form MA.

Yet there is one thing which is instilled in every committed martial artist.

It is self-discipline, the quality I consider to be one of the biggest virtues.

I define self-discipline as the ability to force yourself to do what you know you need to, but don’t want to do.

No progress or achievement is possible without self-discipline. It’s ultimately about will of power. Those who have it move forward; others are left behind paralyzed.

There are many ways to train and develop self-discipline in martial arts. And if I am to name one, it’s this:

JUST KEEP ON TRAINING.

A Tip For Fighting Procrastination

Do you procrastinate?

I used to a lot, both at work and in my personal life.

Procrastination is a popular word for putting off things you should be doing now. Important, urgent things. Submitting a report to your boss. Solving an important client’s issue. Taking an important decision in your personal life.

By the way, procrastination is not only doing nothing while you should be acting. If you’re doing something else instead of doing that thing, you are also procrastinating.

Why is procrastination so bad?

Because it melts your discipline and will of power. And the other way round – not procrastinating strengthens your discipline and sharpens your will of power.

Since I didn’t (and don’t) like procrastination, I came up with one simple method how to fight it.

Every time I am about to procrastinate, I take 3 simple steps:

1. Promise myself a reward.

2. Complete the action.

3. Get the reward.

It really does help.

Say I complete a tedious routine task and get myself a cup of tea afterwards. Or call the client on the phone and then check out the latest international news.

This doesn’t sound complicated, and it is effective.

After all, as already mentioned overcoming procrastination trains your will, which is a pre-requisite for success. And each day brings tons of opportunities to do such a training.

Why We Must Never Give Up

We often hear that we must never give up on anything. I will not restate the same thing here told millions of times already. Well, not in this post.

Instead I’d like to share a piece of Chinese wisdom that may give additional motivation.

So there is an old Chinese proverb which is one of my favorites. It goes as follows. The temptation to quit will be greatest just before you are about to succeed.

Got it?

If you quit, it means you almost achieved what you aspired for.

Almost. But not really.

There’s a huge difference here, and don’t be mislead by ‘almost’ or ‘nearly’, This is the difference between success or failure. As simple as that.

So next time you give up on something, think that you almost succeeded. But ultimately failed.

Indeed, brick walls are there for a reason.

The Four Enemies Of Knowledge

The teachings of Don Juan as interpreted by Carlos Castaneda are one of the most inspirational pieces of wisdom produced by humanity. Among my favorite excerpts is the one on the “enemies of a man of knowledge”. Although taught (and practiced!) by the ancient Native Mexican peoples, these ideas are still (or even more) relevant and applicable in the modern world.

Don Juan reveals four such enemies for the author (Castaneda). I am listing them below adding my own understanding, interpretation and experience.

FEAR

This is one of the strongest enemies. Indeed all sorts of fears cause a lot of trouble for men and women across the planet, and I consider fear to be one of the biggest sins. Most importantly, fear impedes action and therefore knowledge, as action and knowledge are inseparable from each other. Learning means always facing fears, that’s just the way it is. Don Juan advises the following on how to overcome the 1st enemy:

The answer is very simple. He must not run away. He must defy his fear, and in spite of it he must take the next step in learning, and the next, and the next. He must be fully afraid, and yet he must not stop.

There’s not much that can be added to that. My own recipe for overcoming fear is very similar, yet I still can’t boast removing this enemy completely from my life.

CLARITY

The second obstacle to knowledge is clarity. Indeed, once you think you know everything, you stop learning. A man of knowledge must be always ready to change his world view if there are contradicting evidence or facts; he must be always open to the world. This is a true process of obtaining knowledge. After all, if everything is clear, where are the wonders and riddles of the universe? 🙂

POWER

This is the third enemy for those seeking knowledge. This is very closely connected with clarity. The sense of clarity brings the sense of power and omnipotence. In modern life many of the people reaching high (especially politicians, as life proves) tend to forget that power is not ever-lasting. Moreover, power can even corrupt people. On a daily basis, those who have reached a solid level of knowledge in something end to make more mistakes. This sounds as a paradox, yet it happens as people become less aware with more knowledge and power. Thus, statistics show that experienced electricians get an electric shock more often than apprentices.

In my opinion, three things are indispensable with regard to the “power enemy” – self-control, awareness and humility. “I am powerful (strong, clever, whatever), and I am aware of that, yet I will my abilities with precaution” – this is a type of thinking that needs to be embraced.

OLD AGE

Finally, old age is the cruelest of all enemies on the way to knowledge as it cannot never be defeated completely. Don Juan says the following in this regard:

This is the time when a man has no more fears, no more impatient clarity of mind – a time when all his power is in check, but also the time when he has an unyielding desire to rest. If he gives in totally to his desire to lie down and forget, if he soothes himself in tiredness, he will have lost his last round, and his enemy will cut him down into a feeble old creature. His desire to retreat will overrule all his clarity, his power, and his knowledge.

Well, as already mentioned several times, action is life, and life is action. The active way of life and thinking can an should be maintained till the last days of our lives. Otherwise we’ll stop learning and subdue to the last enemy even if defeating the first three.

In conclusion, another interesting approach to knowledge is given by Paulo Coelho in “The Diary of a Magician”. This one will be covered and compared with Don Juan’s teachings in the next post.