Work Harder on Yourself!


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There is a concept that I latched onto a few years ago that really helped catapult me out of both personal and professional ruts. I certainly felt stuck in many ways and didn’t really see realistic ways out. But then I heard a recording of the late Jim Rohn tell me to “work harder on yourself than on your job.”

As foolish as it sounds, I had never really considered that before.

I had always been a hard worker, showed up early, left late, did the job well, etc. I was always a praised employee and I took a lot of pride in that. But I also got stuck in all of my jobs. I stopped progressing, didn’t rise as high or as fast as I thought I deserved. There were many reasons for that, but I think the biggest reason is that I was leaving my advancement up to other people. I was working hard on my job, on the task at hand, but that wasn’t really doing anything for me away from my job.

Working tirelessly at my job wasn’t gaining me new skills. It wasn’t getting me other opportunities elsewhere. And it certainly wasn’t satisfying. In fact, it just repeatedly created a great amount of stress in my life and often left me feeling hopeless that it would ever get better.

But when I heard Mr. Rohn tell me to “work harder on myself than on your job”, I started to realize my errors. When I was feeling unhappy, working harder at my job wasn’t going to help solve that. I needed to work harder on being happy. I needed to study what happy people were doing, talk to people that had a gameplan to become happy. When I felt a lack of confidence, I started to study people and listen to people and talk to people who were very confident. And guess what? Things started to improve! Shocking, I know.

So what does this have to do with Karate? Before when I trained at the dojo, I was doing it for my job. I was doing it to stay safe in a career that had long stopped giving me any pleasure. But if you know anything about the martial arts, you know the benefits to training can be endless (and often surprising!). So I started training more for myself and the benefits just started to pile up to the point that teaching Karate also became my profession. Unbelievable!

I certainly can’t help you solve every problem in your life, but I would encourage you to use your martial arts training to help make you the person you want to be. Do you need to work on better leadership skills? Try helping newer students in class with developing their skills. Does a lack of confidence hold you back? Make a challenge for yourself at the dojo and work hard to accomplish it. Maybe you have fitness goals and just starting to train in the martial arts will help you work harder on yourself?

When I allowed my martial arts training to help work on myself instead of on my job that wasn’t taking me anywhere, that is when I really started to feel the benefits of my training take hold.

Train hard and with intent.

-john g


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