Sometimes You Need To Go Back, To Go Forward

Working towards becoming successful at anything is difficult. If it wasn’t, it likely wouldn’t be worth the time and energy. But, no matter how desperately you want to be successful in any endeavour, it is clear that the path isn’t always simply laid out straight in front of you.

Probably the most uncomfortable feeling, is when you know you have made progress towards an important goal, but then, things get in the way. It’s called life. As a martial artist I have found this happen to me more times than I care to remember. For weeks, I find myself on the mat, diligently training each day, making small, but measurable progress, only to have life’s chaos rip the success right out from underneath me.

Before I know it, weeks have gone by, my training has slumped as I focus on that life stuff, and when I finally find myself back on the mat the realisation dawns on me — that all those gains from those weeks previously, have seemed to disappear into the ether. Coming back onto the mat, thinking I can just continue from where I left off weeks earlier, reality smacks me right in the face — and it is instantly noticeable that things are no longer where they were where before.

I think it is right here, in that very moment, that many of us make a mistake. So desperate to regain where we were, so desperate to continue the growth and success we found ourselves in only weeks earlier, that not only do we have unrealistic, unattainable expectations, but in my game, this is where you get hurt. It’s also really easy to get depressed, fed up, and being so frustrated, we end up throwing in the proverbial towel.

The Strategy of Fundamentals

Because this has happened so many times in my life, I have developed a strategy to deal with it. In these moments, when life has thrown me a curve ball, and I have taken my eye of the ball of something important I was working on, I go backwards, backwards to the fundamentals, the foundation. Everything you have ever achieved has fundamentals. There was always a starting point. There were always core aspects you had to achieve first, before you could take on the more complex aspects of your goal.

I go back to these fundamentals. Maybe it is easier defined in martial arts. But with some thought, a little bit of elbow grease, everything has fundamentals if you look hard and close enough. It may seem defeating to go backwards, but you also know that those fundamentals, the foundation, is what put you onto the road of success in the first place. Going backwards to the roots, to the beginning isn’t a failure, but rather a smart move.

Because you have been there before, means you will build up, and work through the fundamentals quicker this time around. You will bolster your confidence, that just took a dive. Before you know it, you will be back where you were, and working smarter towards the next step in your goal.

“It is very rare or almost impossible that an event can be negative from all points of view.” ~ Tenzin Gyatso


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