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What failure has taught me

The path of learning Tai Chi is much like any other. To get results, you have to invest a reasonable amount of time and effort. As the cliché goes, you get what you put it. This is true, but without guidance and experience, you will find you are not able to overcome certain obstacles. There are some things your teacher cannot do. No matter how may tips given and time spent doing something in class. You need to ask yourself if you can do that outside class? What your teacher teaches and guides you is hand-holding. What your teacher tells you to read, do or accept is being spoon fed.

It is when you train with other people or compete, it is that you know where you are. Whether you are a blackbelt or yellow belt, that quality and experience shows to the trained or simply, the more experienced eye. Competitions are great for developing skill, but from experience, they are not always fair, but the judges are human too. When under pressure, you make mistakes and it is best to learn from them. I have made many mistake over the years in competitions. On other occasions, I have made a fool of myself. Good judges and peers will always give you constructive feedback. Feedback really is a gift and many one day take you out of the woods. Learning the art of Tai Chi is a long journey. Sometimes, the path is easy, but on others it's hard. Sometimes, you don't know that what you're doing is wrong, but it is good to have somebody show you a better way. When you are struggling with certains and techniques. It is best not to over train and frustrate yourself. The solution does not appear when resorting to such mindsets.

When you look at people who are genuinely successful at what they do. You will find that success hasn’t always been a easy journey. They would have all experienced a number of setbacks. But what they do is that they face the harsh reality and learn from their mistakes. Ask the questions and learn from how other people’s experiences and wisdom can help you. Good advice or constructive feedback is seldom easy on the ear. It is you that has to live with poor practice and poor forms. Admitting to errors and the will to change takes guts. This is why honesty and courage is so important. So many people fail, because they don’t see the errors of their ways. Don’t jump on the same bandwagon, find your own direction. Finally, what you learn is somebody else’s knowledge and experience. You are not unique until you have found your own niché. Until then, the art you practice is not your own. This is why genuine martial arts is not a tick box exercise. This aspect of the journey does become apparent until you reach an obstacle in your journey.

Failure has taught me a lot over the years and the path has not been an easy one. Like anything else in life, when you don’t have the support or luck behind you. You will have to work harder and you have to find your own way. I often look back at the videos I’ve made for feedback purposes and look at what is good and what isn’t. Then I compare it with how my art is now and how I can make things better. Success is not about the medals you’ve won or the number or students you have, the money you make or how nice your forms look. The feeling of success and achievement is within. The way you have cultivated the qi and the mind is also important. The experienced eye will spot that. It’s about what you’ve done and how you done it. This is also what I meant about the art being your own, because it’s developed from your own experiences. Without failure I wouldn’t have appreciated what I have achieved and this motivates me to move forward and do more. I do what I do because it’s a labour of love and not a business. When you read about artists and bands, they do what they love doing and they believe in themselves. That’s their unique selling point. Failure can either help you develop or it can break you. Here’s two options, pick one.

You have to learn from your mistakes and failures. What doesn't kill you, will make you stronger.

Thank you for reading my blog.

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