Can you begin to imagine how important the exercises are to accomplishing your transformation? Imagine you read a book on flying, but took no lessons, how would that work for you? Most who play golf, tennis, or ski, take lessons that involve drills and practice.
Most likely there has been something in your life that you practiced. Even if it was just a game of baseball or basketball you played in the park when young, your skill improved over time with the number of times you played. This is no different.
No matter what you think of the narrative material in this book, it is worthless until you begin to exercise.
Your heroes didn’t get that way overnight, except in the movies, and neither did the actors who play those parts.
Often times comic book super heroes have a life changing event, and suddenly they go from 0 to 60. Captain America is injected, enters a machine a nerd and comes out a hero just like microwave popcorn. Peter Parker is bitten by a spider, and so it goes. Real heroes get the way they are by training everyday. The same is true for the actors who play those parts. They have worked very hard to get that way, unlike the character they play who just happens to pull the Sword out of the stone.
The idea is to make a small improvement everyday. The Japanese word for this is kaizen. This begins each morning when you do the mnemonic exercise. And during the day when you do something better, and note it, and give yourself credit for it. This isn’t like going from a couch potato one day to doing pushups to exhaustion the next. It can be as small as just being more focused when you brush your teeth.
Small improvements everyday.
You want to find one thing each day, and once that day, do it better. The training program inherent in this book is built around this concept. There is no one thing that is difficult, except the commitment to the program. The commitment and vision of being the hero of your life. Right now there are a number of activities that you hopefully do each day. Waking and sleeping, showering, driving somewhere on a regular basis and then walking about. You can make slight changes in these day to day activities and they will, over time transform you.
Each position has a very simple exercise. I know that doing “simple” exercises daily is not easy. I struggle the same as you. After you do an exercise, tell yourself, “That is me,” doing it better. And then visualize the change and direction of improvement.
The point is that learning and change take time. These habits you are working for are metaphorically, if not literally, groves in your brain that you must wear in with day after day practice.
All the beautiful people standing on the podiums of the world, smiling and getting their awards or medals, have thousands of hours of practice leading up to that point. This is why there are so few of them. You already knew this. What we are discussing here is that you can make your way to your own personal podium by using the time you normally spend in a trance.
Consider that the average driver will spend up to 30,000 hours of their life behind the wheel. What might you become if you could harvest 10,000 of those hours? How can you harvest the hours of your day-to-day life that normally you spend in a trance or meaningless self-talk?
The exercises that follow will do that for you. Go ahead and take a look now if you want, but they are somewhat Position specific. So as you study one of the positions of the mnemonic, I will link that section to one of these exercises.
The point of this exercise : Who is in control, and what is mind.
This exercise only takes a few seconds, but it will strengthen your free will, and at the same time give you a vantage point with which to regard your mind and emotions. Part of being the man in the Arena, is to be able to detach from your emotions and objectify them, and this exercise will help you with that. All it takes is a radio.
It is done like this, on your radio have a favorite music station and a different news station. On the one they are usually playing music, and on the other it is news with a political slant. Hopefully these are your two favorite stations. Now suppose you are driving along and your favorite song is on the radio. Your emotions are being swept up and the good juices are flowing, perhaps you are singing alone. Now..
Change to the news channel. Jarring isn’t it? Perhaps it is not so difficult when you set out to do it just as an exercise, but in your normal day to day life this won’t be easy. For some this will be as difficult as an alcoholic only drinking half a beer.
It is an act of discipline. To be able to overcome your emotions that are being aroused is noteworthy.
Just as having the discipline to shut down your favorite news channel. This doesn’t make much sense until you try it. It doesn’t cost you anything. You know you will hear that song again. You could download it to your iPhone, but you are in the grip of an emotional sequence. The good juices are flowing. So who is in charge? Same with the news or talk show. There is nothing going on that you don’t already know, or will not hear again and again. Perhaps what you are hearing is feeding into your political hate, and that feels good. Can you switch instantly to the music station?
So we are talking about control and discipline, and it somewhat feeds into one of my favorite sayings, “Better a life of discipline than one of regret.” But there is something else going on here I want you to tune into.
And that is “Mind,” itself. This is apart of that. In the more erudite text on Musashi we learn that he used the word kokoro for Mind, which is closer to heart-mind, or perhaps emotion-intellect-mind? But what we have here is an easy way to experience it.
There is no risk, you are not facing a well trained man with a three foot razor blade, and there is no cost. There is only; Will, Intent, Kokoro. Experience it directly when your will and intent overcome your weakness and lethargy. And then look for other places to apply this technique.
Are you slow getting out of bed? Spend a lot of time reading garbage? Just tiny spaces in your life that wouldn’t be to hard to sweep up, but once done, and added up, you have almost an extra life.
We have already suggested that you can master much of what is in this book during the 30,000 hours you might waste driving. Most will spend three times that watching TV or similar video pursuits that don’t enrich you. You can harvest this time. All that is needed is that first act of discipline. When in the grip of a music inspired orgasm, switch to news. When hearing a news narrative that confirms one of your prejudices and fills you with joyous hatred, switch.
Fear and anxiety will get you killed in a real arena combat, and they don’t help anyplace else. We need to eliminate them as much as possible. On your first reading, this will seem like bullshit. By the time you are done reading this book for the second or third time, not so much. That is because of the next exercise.
Do you imagine that Luke, Obi-wan, or Yoda are overly fearful or anxious? Is it not part of the joy of the movies to imagine being them and not having your concerns? Nothing wrong with that, and it’s an effect we will use in another exercise. But now we will begin an exercise that will very much reduce your fears and anxieties. We are talking about what we call a “normal’ life. If you are parachuting into a fire or working with unexploded ordinance, then you are entitled to some degree of anxiety. But if your day is drive, Starbucks, work, drive, then we are going to vastly reduce your mental load.
This habit is very easy to execute but can have major life changing effects. It produces a great elimination or reduction in anxiety and fear. This is not difficult, it works every time, but it takes time.
This is part of your journaling. Have a notebook page with a line down the center. On the left side write whatever it might be that causes you fear, nervousness, or anxiety. This must be a specific event. You can’t write making phone calls. You can write, “Calling Jane at 6PM and asking for a date.” Nor can you write, “Making presentations at meetings.” Instead you might write, “I feel nervous about making the zilch presentation tomorrow.”
Then after the event transpires, write its outcome. You will be surprised at how everything works out with no pain to you. So was there anything to be anxious about? If you were anxious, did it do any good?
Now review your notes and look for some consistency in what causes you fear and anxiety. Try and get to the bottom of it. And then realize it doesn’t matter what causes your fears, because you don’t want them. Next find a task you are reluctant to do for emotional reasons, write it down exactly on your Fear Training Sheet, then do the task all the while noting your emotional state. See how meaningless were your doubts and fears.
It is crucial to grasp that stress is something you place on yourself. When you feel stress imagine that someone has taken a Photo of you at that moment. Now contemplate if someone else, seeing only that photo, would feel stress. You will comprehend at a deep level that the stress is often caused by the movie in your head. After you do this for a while, you will note that your anxieties are baseless, and do no good. Even if you are rejected or ridiculed, so what? Did the world end?
Save these sheets. You will note that what bothered you three months ago is now forgotten. Yet something else has taken its place as an object of concern. If you want to, you can always find something to cause anxiety. Rechannel that anxiety energy. The same amount of effort you put into your doubts and fears can free you of anxiety and lead you to fearlessness.
SUMMARY: You can vastly reduce your fears and anxieties by taking note of them in your Journal, and then recording how the dreaded events turned out.
“To worry is to become accessible, unwittingly accessible. And once you worry you cling to anything out of desperation; and once you cling you are bound to get exhausted or to exhaust whoever or whatever you are clinging to.”
– Carlos Castaneda, Journey to Ixtlan
Smile change everything