Note: You could also call this article, “Strength of will”
I thought I would like to share an interesting phenomena that I have been thinking about a lot lately.
Various different things have happened to me over the years but one particular thing that stands out in my mind shows me just how powerful willpower can be. The ability to tell yourself you are going to do something and then doing it regardless of ability or strength or skill is awesome.
Let me tell you a story.
The event was a long time ago now and I was physically unfit at the time. A half hour walk would wear me out and I decided it was time to get fit. I had started some martial arts training (as many young men do) and it was my second class. It was hard and tiring stuff and I was exhausted.
The class was told to do a sitting jump, which is where you are sitting on the floor with your legs underneath you (it’s called being in seiza) and you have to immediately on command, jump into a fighting stance. This was extremely difficult to do even if you were fit and many people in the class had been doing classes for some time couldn’t do it and neither could I.
To go from sitting on your legs on the floor to being upright in one movement effectively jumping into the air from that position?
I am not sure why or what random firing of neurons caused it, but I decided that I would do this successfully or die trying. I wasn’t going to let anything stop me. I made the decision that when the command was given I was going to be in a fighting stance or I was going to be flat out on the floor unconscious. I was that determined and that focused.
I had set my mind that I was going to be one of the few people ready and in a fighting stance when called upon to do so.
I then focused on my inner self. I didn’t care what anyone else could do. I certainly wasn’t thinking about the fact that I had been unable to do it any of the previous times I had tried.
I also didn’t care that my legs were going to sleep from sitting in seiza.
I calmed myself and to be honest, I don’t recall thinking any particular thoughts. I had just decided it was going to happen and I wasn’t going to fail.
Then the call from the instructor came. One moment I was sitting there, my legs under me and the next I was in a fighting stance. I don’t know how I got there, I just knew it was where I wanted to be. I shocked myself and shocked all those around me including the instructor and the high ranking students.
Of course, then I fell over.
I didn’t quite faint, but it was a close thing as I didn’t quite blackout allthough the world around me faded and I found myself lying on my back staring at the ceiling.
Needless to say I sat the rest of the class out and watched it from the sidelines.
To this day, I don’t quite know what happened. I think though that I may have been so focused on my task that I channeled all the energy of my body into that sudden leap and left nothing else for my body to use. Perhaps I was so focused on jumping up that I hadn’t been breathing, just holding onto that last breath. It was long ago and now I am unsure.
I do know that through force of will, I was able to do something that I had found impossible. It was a wonderful and incredible feeling.
There are many examples of people pushing themselves beyond their limits and of them being able to do some amazing things when it has been necessary to do so. You can usually find lots of stories of people who have been able to carry on when they have been suffering through great hardship or have reached past the levels of normal endurance.
How about you? Is there something you want to do, so badly that all you need is to truly believe you could do it? Something you would focus on to the exclusion of everything else?
Send me an email and let me know your experiences or add a comment to this article.