What Jiu-Jitsu’s Teaching Me About Business and Life, Lesson #8: Accepting Reality, And Moving Forward Solving Problems Without Emotion


As I look back on my life I can see that any emotional difficulty I’ve previously experienced has been because of my unwillingness to simply accept reality, and then move forward, and solve problems, with a clear head, and without emotional attachment.

The times in my life I’ve that I’ve experienced jealousy, discontentment, and fear, the times that I’ve had a disempowered mindset, the times that I’ve complained that things aren’t fair, that I was getting the raw end of the deal, the times that I’ve looked to blame other people, or other things, for what was happening in my life, I was disconnected from reality. My expectation was different from reality, and instead of accepting reality, and moving forward in an empowered state, I was holding on to a picture of what I though “should be”.  Instead of just accepting “what was” and then taking action to change it, without emotions, I was wanting an unrealistic shortcut: I was wanting reality to change.

This is perhaps one of the best things that I’ve learned from Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu, and if anyone has experienced what I used to experience, they should go take a class:  I HAVE to accept reality in Jiu-Jitsu.  There is no other way.  Once I got comfortable with accepting reality however, I learned that I can solve problems, and move forward without emotions. This is a very positive thing.  

Jiu-Jitsu forces me to accept reality, and it also forces the emotions out of the equation, which is such a good thing.  Let me explain what I mean based on an experience that I had rolling today.  I was rolling with a brown belt in our Academy who is also an instructor.  He is a tremendous practitioner and effectively uses leverage in every opportunity.  In a timed 5 minute roll I was submitted 6 times, but I really gave it my best, and after every submission I immediately came back and tried again until the timed session ended.  At the end of the session I was totally exhausted, but even though I had been submitted, I still felt good.

Reality was forced on me in that roll, but in a way that was empowering.  He is better than me, but at the end of the roll I didn’t didn’t feel any jealousy, or any negative emotions.  Frankly I was too exhausted.  I simply felt reality: and I accepted “what was”.  Because I wasn’t fighting reality I was able to look at the experience through an empowering light.  There were a number of lessons that I learned from this roll and I am very interested in rolling again with him, even though I will be submitted again, because I will learn, and from this learning I’ll be able to make inferences which will help me in my game.

Another example is when I find myself stuck in a bad position, but not yet submitted.  In fact this happened to me today as well (in a different roll).  In these situations there are no emotions, in fact I am quite surprisingly detached.  I know that I am in a bad position (I have accepted reality), and because I have accepted reality my mind is clear to now try and solve the problem of getting myself out of the bad situation.  No emotions are involved.  Just a simple acceptance of reality and then moving forward trying to solve the problem.

I see tremendous application of this concept in business and life.  First, on the life side, I believe that we can often be our own worst enemy.  If reality differs from what we “think” should be the case in any aspect of our life (relationships, well being, money, fitness, opportunities for career advancement, really anything) it is easy to get discouraged.  However, if we just “accept reality” just as it is, and then move forward, without any emotions, solving problems, we can change our lives in a positive way and we don’t get stuck in the rut of blaming, complaining, venting, or being discouraged or jealous.

It also applies to business as well.  What are the “realities” in our business?  Perhaps seasonal sales cycles, or competition, or the need to constantly reinvent or innovate.  Whatever they are, the “reality” is that there are certain things that “just are”, and “just exist” in the business and instead of complaining about them, or worrying about them, we are much better off by just accepting them as they are, taking all emotions out of it (like a scientist), and then moving forward to solve problems.

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