The other day I walked into a Brazilian Jiu Jitsu gym for the first time to learn something new.
I remember my mom telling me a conversation she had with family friend around her age. The guy’s a seemingly smart guy, but he actually told my mom that he has very little left to learn.
That’s a scary place to be, in a position where you think you know everything you need to know.
There’s no more growth left. There’s nothing left to get excited about.
Poor, miserable prick.
My mom’s in her seventies. She admits that she has so much to learn that she can’t even wrap her head around it. Every day provides a new lesson, an opportunity to learn something new, and the best among us chase it.
The Practicing Mind
There’s science behind this ‘chasing’ learning.
A couple years ago I read the Practicing Mind.
It’s an incredible book that kicked off (or renewed) my desire to try new things and to have hobbies that I’m actively engaged in.
I took up archery. I bought a rifle and shotguns and began learning how to shoot. Brazilian Jiu Jitsu is the latest in that line of things I’m trying to get better at, and while each serve a purpose – knowing how to shoot enables you to hunt your own food, learning a new form of martial arts equips you better to defend yourself and others – it’s the act of learning where the true power is found.
The author, Thomas Sterner, lays out how the actual act of practicing makes you better at learning.
The greatest at what they do aren’t innately great. Da Vinci was a great practiser of art. As was Michelangelo. They were able to remain in the moment, to forget about where they wanted to be or what they wanted to do, and simply learn.
It’s forgetting the destination and focusing on the process.
The destination requires the process, the process doesn’t require the destination. In fact, when you’re focused on the destination instead of on the process, you bring yourself further away from your desired outcome.
Thus, the better you become at learning, at practicing a craft, at bringing your mind into the moment and not allowing it to venture off into the future or the past, the more efficient you become at the art of mastery.
Men Need Hobbies
Always be engaged in some form of learning.
You don’t need more than one thing, but you need something beyond your craft, your work. You need an escape outside of what you do for a living that’s beneficial to your mind and improves your ability to learn.
Men also need another place to put their energy.
We’re here to learn, to grow, and to conquer. Men need skills. We need to feel like we’re improving at something. That something isn’t always our career. And even if the career is creeping along far more slowly than we like, we can improve in other areas.
Simply put, men need hobbies. Better yet, we need hobbies that make us better men and that make us better at being men.
We’re here to protect and provide, so why not become better at protecting and more equipped to provide?
Hence, walking into a BJJ gym.
I haven’t boxed in years, and getting my head knocked around every day wasn’t as appealing as learning something completely new.
Find a hobby.
About The Author
Chad Howse: Chad’s mission is to get you in the arena, ‘marred by the dust and sweat and blood’, to help you set and achieve audacious goals in the face of fear, and not only build your ideal body, but the life you were meant to live.