Thursday, July 28, 2011

The Math of Success

When we are dealing with added stress, work, etc, I'm sure we've all heard, "it's all about the give and take."  When we have a goal in mind, sometimes reminding ourselves of this give-n-take is really tough.  It's more than just being patient with the progress we make--it's accepting loss for gain.

How could loss be progressive?

I started to think about this as I watched some students struggle with their Warrior 3 pose.  In this pose, you are working to create a perfect "T" shape with your body.  Your arms are together reaching out in front of you, while you reach one leg back.  Your goal is to be perfectly straight from toes to fingertips, all while balancing on one foot.  Often what I find is that students want to reach with their fingertips, bringing their torso down, but without working to lift their leg up.

When I look at these students in Warrior 3, they look like scales to me.  Which of course got me to think about the constant drive to find balance.    And when their torso has weighed down, but their leg doesn't lift up, they are visually imbalanced. I've talked a lot about finding balance, about learning moderation and patience.  But when I discussed this with my fiance, he simplified it for me:

"If you add something, you must take something away."

How simple is that?  So simple that I had never even thought of it!  The more I thought about the concept of addition and subtraction, I realize it really is all about the give and take.  If you get a different job, have an addition to your family, or begin a new relationship, you take attention away from some people in order to give attention to other things.  In terms of diet, add some veggies to your plate, take away carbs.  Add muscle, lose fat.  Add 2 hours of studying, lose 2 hours of sleep/TV.  Seems like a simple equation for success.

However, often what we are asked to give up is a comfort for us--a security blanket.  Going back to Warrior 3--students must lose the security of two feet on the ground.  That's a struggle!  When we move from having two stable feet to one, the new feeling of instability can be scary and/or frustrating.

But what we learn through practice is that the feeling of instability fades.  If we move slowly, lowering our torso only enough that our leg can lift in unison, then we are able to adjust with each change.  Eventually, it feels natural to be standing on one leg and reaching in opposite direction.

It will always be work, but hopefully a little less scary.  So in order to win, you have to be okay with losing.

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