Your Why Is Not Your How

The question, “What is your ‘why?’” Was made popular by Simon Sinek. It is important to start with why.  Especially in these times while we are all locked up in our houses, it is easy to lose motivation.  It is easy to forget why we should bother waking up early, getting dressed, bathing, eating properly, and exercising.  It is easy to fall into the doldrums of depression and angst. That’s why we need to be even more vigilant now with remembering our “why” and using that to motivate us going forward.  

One problem I see with a lot of my friends is that their “Why” is also their “How.”  For example, they love jiujitsu and it is why they exercise but it is also how they exercise and now that jiujitsu has been taken away from us for the foreseeable future, they are lost.  

My suggestion is that jiujitsu should be your “why.” Maybe you never had a reason to want to get into shape before or to eat better. Maybe now that you have jiujitsu in your life, you can see the importance of being fitter and more flexible. Now you have a reason to eat better.  However, just because jiujitsu is the “why” does not necessarily mean it is the “how.”  Jiujitsu is a great martial art.  However it is not a strength and conditioning program.  Jiujitsu practitioners can be great at submissions but that does not mean they are necessarily the best nutritionists. Look outside your bubble for good tips on strength training, nutrition, and recovery. 
If you want to be better at jiujitsu, you obviously need to practice, but there are other qualities that you bring to the mat that will help your jiujitsu. Some things can be developed on the mat, but some are better developed off the mat.

The claim of jiujitsu has always been that it can help the smaller, weaker man defeat the bigger opponent.  Unfortunately that message has been misinterpreted to the point where people believe it is better to be a smaller weaker jiujitsu player. It most certainly is not. You should never hope to be the smaller, weaker person in a physical contest with another person.  Of course we can never control the size of our opponent, that is when jiujitsu can level the playing field, but never seek to be on the wrong side of the playing field. You should want to be the biggest, strongest, fastest, and fittest version of yourself.

 Now I’m not suggesting you strive to be Arnold in 80s. I suggest that you work on those aspects that will make you better once your return to the mats.  Get up and exercise, eat right, sleep, stretch, and take care of your body, so that when you go back you are in peak shape too begin training again.  

Most people are not interested in jiujitsu. For most, the necessity of earning money to support themselves and their families has been taken away. Your job is your “how”. Your “why” is to support yourself and your family. If you keep your eyes on the “why,” you can find another way to make that money. All of us are going to have to reevaluate how we live our lives and make money and find new ways to get along in the world. For some this will be an opportunity and for others it will be an obstacle. The point is that if you focus on the “why” the how becomes easier to navigate.

My professor, Kevin Sheridan, asks, “what is your return on bad luck?” How can you turn this shitty event around to make it a win for you.  If you took the next month to get stronger, improve your cardio, lose 10 pounds, and get more flexible as well as let some of your injuries heal, you would have made a great return on this bad luck.  

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