This week the challenge will focus on the Foundational Pillar of Attitude, and it will be a Mental challenge.
Edward and Evanlyn had a bunch of great suggestions for this challenge too. They really have been super helpful through out the Winter Warrior Challenge. They have designed about half of it. (Thank you both.) Among half dozen great ideas they put forward, one thing that they suggested for this week really stood out to me. So, instead of doing a grab bag set of options, there will be only one and it will be more introspective. Hopefully it will help build us all up a bit. I know with all this snow I could use a bit of cheer. As always you can make this harder or easier for yourself, and I hope you’ll share your journey with us.
This week, in your fencing journal, make a list of things you like about yourself. They can be fencing related or not, though I hope there are some fencing things in there because you’re all amazing! Your list can be as long or as short as you like with as much or as little detail as you wish to add, and in any format you like. I personally will be using a mind map, but you can make this however you want. Please do make one though, I strongly feel this is important.
A Few Thoughts
Now don’t be tricked by the simplicity of the task, and don’t rush through it either. This might be one of the deepest challenges we accept this winter. Having a Swordsman Attitude begins inside yourself, and this introspection on things you like about yourself will help you become a better Swordsman. How? By encouraging you to see the things you’re already doing well so you can keep doing and being those things and improving them.
We spend an awful lot of time beating our selves up over mistakes and failures, and not nearly enough time being honest with our selves with what we are doing well. There have been so many times when I’ve been working with a fencer and they have been excessively hard on them selves for what they are doing poorly. I can see it as we are fencing, they become totally disheartened and can no longer see what they are doing well, they fence worse and worse until they just have to stop. I think this is pretty normal, but it’s also sad. Recognizing what didn’t work is different than being needlessly harsh on ourselves.
I think we do this in our lives too. We are so hard on our selves for the things we mess up on, or that we aren’t doing as well as we think we should be doing. The thing is, we become what we think about. If we focus on the less-than-pleasant aspects of ourselves, we get worse. If we look at the things we like, we will get better.
I’m not suggesting we ignore what we could make better. There is a time and place for self reflection that leads to improvement. However dwelling on the negative, and putting our energy into unproductive self abuse drags us down. In reality these things prevent us from the improvement we really want. Improvement doesn’t require a self destruction. Improvement is building from where you are. As an observation, you’ll reach your dreams faster by building from where you are than if you tear yourself down to ground zero first.
Making a list like this can be seen at trite, but if you take it seriously and honestly look at the things you are doing well, it can give you clearer perspective on life and fencing. It can help you improve and look forward. It can also be a good reminder to you in times when you are feeling discouraged that there are some things about you that are good and likable. If you’ll let it, this list can make you a better Swordsman by giving you a foundation to build upon.
So, go make your lists, feel good about your self, because you’re great, and have a good week!
I believe in you Winter Warriors! Shaky tail!