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Jiu jitsu can be the most fun, life changing experience ever. With jiu jitsu you can learn self defence, you can get healthy, you meet your best friends, and you build quality of life.
But there's something out there that can suck up all the fun and leave you high, and dry.
It's known as 'The Shoulds'.
Beware of the Shoulds
The Shoulds is a horrible disease. Nobody is immune. When you suffer from the Shoulds you experience emotional and mental torment.
+ You think you should be learning quicker than you are.
+ You think you should be submitting people faster.
+ You think you should be lighter, or leaner, or stronger.
+ You think the should be working harder, even if you're doing your best.
The shoulds are a nasty affliction.
The Shoulds will run through your innards faster and more painfully than a heavyweight's kneeride. It'll choke your lungs with shame and fear, like a Kron Gracie cross collar choke. Eventually, the Shoulds will make you tap to the journey from the pain of disappointment and despair.
Usually it starts with “if-then” rules about your time on the mats, like:
IF I go to class 3 times per week for a month THEN I shouldn’t be losing.
IF I cut to lightweight, THEN I will win the next tournament.
IF I do jiu jitsu THEN all my problems will go away.
In this way you have expectations of what's going to happen, and you think you can control the outside world. This is a waste of your time, energy, and warrior spirit, because you know that you can only control yourself. Anything else leads you down a rabbithole of anguish and despair, and eventually you've ruined your jiu jitsu journey.
There is a Cure
What IS - it's different to what should be.
What is is real, and authentic. It is who you truly are, in all your warty, majestic, flawed, and gloriously human splendour. It's everything you can do, right now. It’s a celebration of gratitude and awareness.
There’s no such thing as failure, because you already won by showing up, and being ready to learn.
So, what are your shoulds?
Become aware of them, and tape them out for good.
Focus on what you have, check into what is happening around you, and be grateful for every part of this beautiful jiu jitsu journey.