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Bridging The Gap Between What You Do and What you Love to Do

How many times do you have to drag yourself to work or school or somewhere that you do not want to go because you do not enjoy it? Even though they serve essential functions in your life, such as paying the bills, or getting an education, they are not very enjoyable because they do not tap into the inner you. Maybe they lack creativity, expression, or choice. In one way or another, they encroach upon the person you want to be, rather than highlighting the person you want to be. Hour upon hour seems to drag when you do not enjoy what you are doing.

Is it always enjoyable to practice even the things you love, such as martial arts? Some might say yes, but others, who have experienced the wrath of a partner trying to learn a new technique, might exclaim otherwise! Every lesson is a building block. Sometimes you cannot grasp a skill, or you struggle with proper form. Not every martial art moment is enjoyable, yet you continue because there is something worthwhile and significant about it. It is life-changing and purposeful, and you will become a better person because of it.

While it is very easy to brush your essential daily tasks off as not enjoyable, the truth is that they fulfill a need, and that in itself is a good thing. As in martial arts, make the effort first and see where it leads. The discomfort or dislike of a situation might remind you to pursue a different version of yourself on the inside, which may actually help direct you to a better path. Whatever you have to do in life does not easily change. How you view it and approach it, though, can make all the difference in the world. If you are in a regular daily situation that you dread or are about which you are not happy, then change is always an option. Change your attitude, or change your position. Either one can be a positive action, if you do it for the right reasons, such as to better yourself, and not the wrong reasons, like spite or fear.

Before I started training in martial arts, I was not the person who I am today. It actually took a while before I began to exude any confidence. Others would comment how focused I was as a beginner. I think I was just overly focused to make up for the lack of confidence that I felt inside. But, it worked. Not only did I convince them, I convinced myself, that focus and self-belief belong together. I made the effort because it seemed worthwhile. Everything for which you work hard will have an output of one kind or another.

That new-found confidence made a big difference not just in martial arts, but in life. I started to realize that the dojang was the best place to practice confidence without worry or fear that I would be judged. We were all in the same boat, learning, and we helped each other. Any discomfort, fear, or worry about being there was decreased by the support and encouragement of others. This type of support in your daily responsibilities is what makes a job, school, or other responsibility feel good.

Every person has potential and talents. Many push them aside for fear of rejection or of failure. Thankfully, martial arts remind students that they have many, many levels of accomplishment that they have never experienced. This is how confidence builds. One small accomplishment leads to another. Then, you know the story. One day the student earns a black belt, and it all makes sense. If there is no opportunity to earn a “black belt” in life, you may feel rejected or disappointed. Somehow, someway, it is also your responsibility to find a better, more rewarding place to be. Make the changes either in your mindset, or in your actions, that will lead you to something better.

Believing in yourself is an incredible relief. It allows you to take on tasks and challenges in life that you want to pursue without holding back. If you have other commitments in life that you do not enjoy, assess them carefully. Does their purpose outweigh your negativity about them? Is there a way to approach them with a more positive outlook? Don’t define yourself based on those situations, but instead on the actions in your life that make you feel confident and worthy. Martial arts fit the bill, or whatever activities you love and enjoy. All of them, however, require effort in order to reap the reward. Sometimes what you learn in these situations spills over into all that you do, and you see a better picture of yourself and your life, overall.

The black belt spirit can be applied to relationships, decisions, obstacles, and achievements. Nothing can ever limit your confidence from solidifying, if you allow it to soar. While there are many barriers and obstacles along the way, both in life, and in martial art training, you must push through each one with fervor and commitment. You will begin to realize how powerful your mind is. You have choices in what you do, how you do it, and why you do it. Once you realize that, you will bridge the gap between what you do, and what you love to do.


My new book, The Martial Arts Woman, is now available. Purchase through my e-commerce store:
The Martial Arts Woman shares the stories and insights of more than twenty-five women in the martial arts, and how they apply martial arts to their lives. Unlike most other martial art books, the reader will catch a glimpse into the brave and empowered woman who dares to be all that she can be. Many of these women had to overcome great societal or personal challenges to break into the men’s world of martial arts. This book will motivate and inspire you to go after your goals in life and to fight through every challenge and defeat every obstacle. The Martial Arts Woman will open your eyes to the power of the human spirit and the martial art mindset that dwells in each of us!
Andrea F. Harkins is a writer, motivator, life coach, martial artist, and public speaker. Her book, The Martial Arts Woman, is now available at or on Amazon!
Andrea is Internationally known for her positivity through martial arts efforts and outreach, and her writing. She is currently a contributor for Think Positive Magazine, as well as a columnist for Martial Arts Illustrated UK, The Martial Arts Guardian (UK), the World Martial Arts Magazine, MASUCCESS, Conflict Manager, Martial Arts Business (Australia), The Parrish Village News, and her blog, The Martial Arts Woman. Contact her for information on public speaking, autographs, and life coaching.

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