It’s not really there

After I shared that Bruce Lee quote with you last week and asked what your “one kick” is, list member Fuad sent me some Youtube videos of him breaking some boards with his unalloyed Karate badassery.

I asked him if it hurts to kick through a wooden board and he dropped this amazing life lesson on me:


No, not at all, if you do it right anyway.  When I was a white belt and just starting martial arts, for our very first board break our teacher explained it to us like this:

Imagine the board as a layer of air, or of water.  Once you realize it’s not really there you will pass through it easily.  The reality was that in fact I didn’t even feel it – you have to see the pieces afterward to know that it actually happened.

This was actually a huge lesson that I took to heart and used over the years as a teacher in many subjects.  When you have an obstacle in front of you – as long as you envision it as an obstacle, you will have a hard time overcoming it.  

Once you accept that it’s not actually there, you have no issue passing through it.  In other words, the real obstacle is in your own mind.  Hardship and ease – these are states of the mind.  For the martial arts students who saw a board in front of them – an unsurmountable obstacle, they focused on the board instead of beyond the board, and they could not break their boards.  

From a physics standpoint, you need to make your target the area behind the board – that is your real destination.  if you target the board, you stop at the board and don’t generate the force to penetrate beyond it.  Same thing goes for everything in life – don’t focus on what you think is the goal, focus beyond it and you will get there in stride.

You know what I’m going to say next…

What about you and the challenge of becoming a highly-paid, in-demand specialist? Is that an unsurmountable physical obstacle or one that exists only in your own mind?


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