I kind of have a crush on actor and martial artist Michael Jai White. Not in a romantic way, although he’s a handsome guy. It’s more of an admiration and respect for his technique. His side kicks and back kicks are such stuff as dreams are made on.
In the movie Never Back Down 2, White’s character tells his student, “An angry mind is a narrow mind.” Anger and frustration can cloud and distract a fighter’s thinking. Emotions take over their technique and logic, which can lead to a lot of costly mistakes.
In light of what’s going on in the world and in the United States right now…I’m not going to touch anger, which frankly right now is needed and warranted.
Instead I want to talk about how we can limit ourselves with our beliefs or thoughts–how they can, as MJW might say, “narrow” our minds.
The concept of limiting beliefs is not something new, and not something I invented. In many instances, the concept of limiting beliefs is focused on the damage done by believing you can’t do something or have something. Negative emotion leads to negative behavior, which can lead to negative results.
Something I’ve experienced lately both with myself and with people I know is not so much not believing I can’t have or do or be something, but believing I’ll only be happy if certain criteria are met. I’ve been working at home for nearly three months and am happier than I’ve ever been in my career (global pandemic and systemic racism and corruption and brutality notwithstanding). It just suits me, and I also love being able to take care of my home and have more time for my life and hobbies that this job is paying for.
It’s also made my anxiety shoot up because I’m terrified of the day when my boss says, “Okay, you can go back to your office now.” I “office” out of a hospital, so given that work environment, I’m not going back any time soon (namely, they don’t need to waste PPE on me, a non-caregiver)…but still, I’m dreading it because I’ve grown to love my new normal so much. I hate driving, I hate being stuck in one little spot all day (a condo under quarantine is better than an office or cubicle), and I don’t like being around people. I’m so much more relaxed and focused working from home.
But I’m making myself miserable worrying that this could all change, and if it changes my happiness will go away, or so I’ve led myself to believe. I’ve convinced myself that I have to work from home full-time to be happy with my job. I can’t even enjoy it right now because I’m so worried about losing what I like….counterintuitive, isn’t it? My mind has narrowed to limiting my job satisfaction to one particular situation.
Another person I know seems to be stuck in romanticizing and idealizing a certain situation, and it’s keeping them stuck where they don’t want to be. Certain criteria have to be met for this person to move on. Having standards and seeking what you find appealing is fine, but if you get too pigeonholed you might let too many opportunities pass you by.
And another person I know is experiencing the opposite–they’re convinced that everything in their personal situation is bad, hopeless, a dead-end. They’re so mired in focusing on the negative that they’re not seeing the helping hands seeking to pull them out of it and are not able to find ways to personally make a change.
Bad things happen. Life can suck. It’s pretty bad for a lot of people right now, and I don’t want to discount the very real and very terrible things going on. I’m simply offering a little food for thought on what we can control–our beliefs, our thoughts, and our responses.
Open your mind, and open the possibilities. Keep fighting.
Stay tuned for my upcoming book– “Kicking and Screaming: a Memoir of Madness and Martial Arts” published by She Writes Press. Coming to a bookseller near you April 20, 2021!
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