Reading time: 3 minutes Mar 26th 2018

The wisdom of Mr. Miyagi

Recently, The Karate Kid came on the TV. A story about a teenager who is bullied and learns karate from a wise old Japanese man called Mr. Miyagi is the ultimate hero’s journey. Terms like ‘wax on, wax off’ became memes years ago as it became one of the classic fun movies most people had seen. In re-watching it after so many years, something became apparent to me. In the story was a critical life lesson that I think we could all be reminded of.

In the story, as Mr. Miyagi teaches the protagonist Daniel, he uses some unorthodox methods. He gets Daniel to paint the fence and wax his car. Daniel gets frustrated with these until the revelation that those drills have helped him block karate moves against him. He was learning when he did not realise it.

These days, we find ourselves bombarded with so many choices and so many things for us to do. It is important that we begin to focus on the skills we need to practice as opposed to the plan we think will automatically bring us where we need to go. The very best plans will be forced to change because of changing circumstances. Whatever idea you have of how things will go will more than likely not go like that. Instead, you will be forced to adapt and change your approach.

The equivalent to painting the fence or waxing the car is developing the kinds of skills that we need to drill into our mind. When we watch TV or go online we often see the product of all the effort someone puts in or we watch a course where they outline what we need to do. What is often missing are the core skills we need to get better at so that we can make the necessary progress and create the desired future. These skills range from the ability you have to build the right kinds of states to the skills of communication and influence. What makes us successful is not just what we try to do in the moment but is the set of skills that we do automatically because we have trained ourselves to do them.

So, what skills do you need to make second nature to you? If you were to achieve the life of your dreams what skills would you have mastered and would you be implementing without even thinking? Considering these questions will help massively in enabling you to move forward in your life.

The legend Zig Ziglar once said that ‘motivation’ is like a bath. You should have it every day. So many skills are just like that. From becoming a better communicator to taking charge of your mind, it is what you practice consistently over and over that will make the difference. Far too many people spend time trying more and more shiny new things. Often it is in the simple disciplines and fundamentals that the majority of change comes from.

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