Saturday, March 3, 2012

So this is what learning from failure really means...

I have been trying to express in words why I am now so attached to Brazilian Jiu-jitsu. The more I thought about it the more I realized that I should probably just start writing the reasons down. Maybe some reasons will stick with me, maybe some will fade, maybe the whole relative order of importance will shift... maybe I'll just get started.

Today's reason why I am addicted to BJJ is that I now have a better understanding of my insecurities.

Early in my life, I discovered I had a talent for math. I enjoyed math - I wasn't born knowing how to do anything with numbers, but learning how to do it came so easy to me it wasn't even fair.

Now take BJJ - I have no particular talent for it. I have no history of athletic activity and I am often quite slow to learn the muscle memory required for any kind of sport. I started only with enough determination to keep showing up.

This is not about valuing a challenge over the easy path. First, math has been hard for me. Sure, maybe even early calculus was easy but at some point I hit non-linear partial differential equations and it got a little rough. For me, the difference between the two is in my insecurity. I have always been secure in my ability to do math. Whenever I can't solve a problem as quickly as I want to I end up frustrated and angry. Maybe in BJJ I would benefit from more confidence, sure, but working through something without that innate sense of security has changed me.

I now have the smallest glimmer of an understanding of what it means to accomplish something really difficult - something that requires living with insecurity and building confidence from the ground up. This is a work in progress - insecurity still dominates my perspective - but I am more balanced and less frustrated by my failures in every area of my life.

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