Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Emotional Gym

Whenever you work out your muscles, especially when you increase intensity, you create microscopic tears in the muscle that cause you to become sore one or two days after the work out.  This is referred to as DOMS – Delayed Onset Muscle Soreness.  This is the beginning of a rebuilding process that leads to greater stamina and muscle hypertrophy (growth of the muscle).  DOMS is caused by microscopic tears in the muscle fibers.  Isn’t it interesting that in order to build muscle and get stronger, you have to break it down first?

Building our ‘emotional muscles’ works similarly.  Whenever we experience something new or foreign, especially when it involves our emotions, our emotions are getting a work out and microscopic tears are being caused to our ego.

After any intense workout, it is imperative to rest and get proper nutrition to help build the muscles stronger. If we do not rest or eat properly after a workout, we waste the effort we put in to building our bodies.

Our emotional state (ego) works much in the same way.  If we do not seek time and wisdom to help build our emotional state of peace after a conflict (workout), we waste the opportunity to grow.

This means creating a paradigm shift in our thinking to looking at conflict as an opportunity to grow and achieve something greater.  Just like the gym is an opportunity for our bodies, the world is our emotional gym to enhance our state of peace.

This is imperative for parents to understand with regards to raising emotionally stable children.  We cannot protect them from everything (and we shouldn’t), because they need the opportunity to grow their emotional muscles.  Our jobs as parents is to be there to help them get through the soreness and make sure their emotions are getting the proper ‘nutrition’, so that they may grow and prosper.

All the best,

David Alvas

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Humble Humble

Humility (Kyum Son in Korean) is such an important part of our growth as human beings. It is the second most important part, in my opinion, next to courage. Courage is where the decision is made to be humble; it is in the act of being humble that the transformation actually happens.

I recently read this and was very impressed by it. It was written by Yehuda Berg. The message carries great wisdom and insight, so I would like to share it with you:

“It's human nature to expend whatever energy is required to prove a point, no matter the cost. As a result, we're seduced into making decisions that gratify the ego but injure the common good. We often reject the ideas of others because they didn't originate in our own clever little minds. We may even secretly wish for failure — even if we ourselves are damaged by it — if a plan originates from someone who ignores our advice.”

Interesting perspective.  If you read the previous Tune Up on concentration and its literal meaning, you would be intrigued to know that the literal translation of the Korean words of Kyum Son is humble-humble.  It must be really important if the words are repeated twice!

Spend your energy this coming week practicing humility and allowing other people’s ideas and plans to shine. Let go of your ego and allow yourself to expand past the feelings of wanting all of the attention. Let it all go in exchange for the peace that comes from humility.

All the best,

David Alvas

Thursday, May 3, 2012

One United Mind and Body

In Tang Soo Do, we study many concepts, including the idea of Chung Shin Tong Il, which literally translates to One United Mind and Body.  This concept explores the value of concentration.  However, it looks at it from a different perspective relating to solving conflict within ourselves.

The central concept of Tang Soo Do is Moo Do, or Martial Way.  It represents the philosophy that we, as human beings, should strive to solve conflict internally, which will lead to peace in the outside world.  We use the 8 Key Concepts and 10 Articles of Faith to guide us in our training and in our daily lives. One United Mind and Body is one of the 8 Key Concepts.

By looking at the concept of Chung Shin Tong Il this way, it suggests that in order to concentrate, we have to have alignment between our mind and body.  This means no conflict between our spirit, intellect, and heart.

This is a tall order.  It requires dedication to personal growth and discipline over a long period of time.  In much the same way that financial investments work, building your personal presence and achieving peace requires time, energy, and sacrifice.  It also requires concentration over a long period of time. The key here is that we concentrate better when our hearts and minds are on the same page.  Having internal conflict makes it very difficult to concentrate on the things we need to accomplish externally.  Without clear internal guidelines, the external world becomes very cloudy, and creating sound decisions is, to say the least, challenging.

The other important element of Chung Shin Tong Il is the emphasis on the word body.  It suggests that we need to create a space in our lives where taking care of our bodies is more of a priority.  After all, we live in a country where our cars, houses, and bank accounts tend to be more important and take up more of our time than proper diet and exercise.  We all know what it’s like to be sick, and how our body ‘talks loudly’ to us when we are ill.  You may have noticed how difficult it is to concentrate when our bodies are in pain.

 Seek guidance from the people you trust and respect to help solve any internal conflicts you may have.  You can also find peace in exercise, a good book or conversation, or an afternoon at the park with your family.  Once these are put behind you, your ability to concentrate will improve because you will have Chung Shin Tong Il, a United Mind and Body.

All the best,

David Alvas

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Ego, the King of Sabotage

A great teacher once told me “The more you are able to identify the illusion of the ego, the greater your future will be.”

Every time we are afraid to make a choice, we give in to our ego. Every time we shake in our boots before a presentation, we succumb to our ego. It is the same reason why we are afraid to take risks: we are afraid to sacrifice our ego.

Ego, in the martial arts, is referred to as pride or self-centeredness. It’s that gut wrenching feeling we get when we make a mistake in front of someone else. It is the opposite of humility.

Ego can be like your arch enemy, trying ferociously to sabotage your every desire. It is the little voice in your head that tells you “You are not good enough” or “You do not have what it takes to start your own business”. We need to fight this enemy by taking risks. On the opposite side of ego is certainty. We need to risk our ego to destroy it, it is the only way.  We need to be vulnerable.

This week, find ways to break down your ego. Tell someone you made a mistake. Put on a presentation at work; the one you have been putting off for a long time because you are afraid of what others will think. Start that business you have been dreaming about for years. Ask that person on a date that you have not had the courage to in the past. Or, start training in the martial arts, even though you think you will look silly doing it.

Every time you conquer your ego, you will become stronger and wiser.

All the best,
David Alvas

Friday, April 20, 2012

Vacuum of Opportunity

This week, my staff has been teaching some great classes. They have been focusing their lessons on never quitting. I found this inspiring and want to elaborate on this in a more specific fashion regarding failure.
Failure is not a “thing” you can put your hands on. As a matter of fact, failure doesn’t exist. Just like black is the absence of all colors, failure is the absence of success.

\When a person fails at something, it almost always is painful. This pain makes us feel like we have a vacuum inside of us, sucking away at our happiness. But if we change our perspective, and look at a vacuum as an attraction, something pulling into our lives, and not just empty space, a vacuum becomes an opportunity. It becomes an opportunity to attract.

So, when you fail at something, you automatically start attracting something. What you attract is up to you. If you make excuses for your failure and become defensive about it, you attract further failure. If you look at failure as an opportunity for growth and success, that is what you will attract.

Just as outer space is a vacuum with boundless opportunities, so is failure. Failing creates space inside us for growth. What you fill that vacuum with, that space, is up to you.

This week, spend some time looking back at what you failed at and find the opportunity. It could be a mean thing you said, a complement you never gave, or a test in school you did not pass.

All the best,
David Alvas