Originally published on 23JAN2011 for Examiner.com

K&B, LLC co-owner and instructor Don Alley is a martial arts, personal protection, and emergency preparedness writer. Many of his articles originally appeared in Examiner.com. As these articles are able to be retrieved from old web caches, they will be posted here.

In the martial arts world, students are regularly pushed to their physical limits. By pushing hard, those limits expand, and the student grows. The same is true in any curriculum. By pushing one’s self hard, whether it be in math, chemistry, literature, or physical arts, the limitations of the student are pushed further and further into the background. Nike calls it “Just do it.”.  Even more compelling is their Swoosh logo represents the Greek goddess of victory. The Japanese call the same concept “malobashi”, which means essentially the same thing.

Most of peoples’ personal limits are self imposed. Statements like “I’m no good at math.”, or “I can’t run a mile” are used to self-limit what we can accomplish. In some not so extreme examples, people evaluate their pitfalls before they even start a task, so that they have the necessary excuses to explain their failures. The truth is, though, that challenges make people stronger. The difficult test, the involved action item at work, or the challenging issue to cope with will make us stronger at the outcome, because we have gained experience. For many of us, accomplishing an involved task successfully has us looking back at the beginning of the task and thinking “What was I afraid of?” or “Why didn’t I start that sooner?”. After the procrastination, the waffling, the worrying, we finish the task with decent results and move on more confidently.

The best lesson to take from this situation is that the worrying and procrastination were not necessary. The task was accomplished with a little hard work, and there was no real doubt of the outcome. Thus, all the pre-task angst was useless. The people we all know in life as the go-getters, the get-er-done folks, and the accomplished professionals have one thing in common; they have learned to not waste time with the worrying, and delve into the new challenge as a welcomed and rewarding experience. Sure there’s planning and thinking things through to do it right, but no time is wasted on what is truly useless worry.

The interesting thing that happens after only a couple iterations of this is that a person learns quickly that they can accomplish things, they have the resources to do so, and people will help them to succeed. Just like a runner stretching out his distance to make that extra mile each day, a person’s personal limitations get pushed back further and further.

Eventually, the reputation is earned as the go-getter, the get-er-done guy, and the success story. Coworkers and supervisors grow more confident not in your abilities necessarily, but in your determination to succeed. All because you set the worry and angst aside and worked with a little determination.

So, if you’ve been putting something off, like entering a martial arts program, starting to work out, the big interior home improvement project, going back and getting the degree, malobashi!