The Young Monk and the New Year's Resolutions
How to Use Zen Buddhism in Daily Life - "A Handful of Nothing" has 88 Stories Pointing the Way

What You Can Believe You Can Achieve in Martial Arts and Everything Else

Bruce Lee Letter2
Part of the letter Bruce Lee wrote to himself.

In 1969, Bruce Lee wrote a letter to himself, promising to be world-famous by 1970 and by 1980, he would have $10 million. He wrote that he would do this by giving "electrifying" performances.

We all know what happened. He did not live to see his greatest fame, but more than 50 years after he died, we're still talking about him and wearing his t-shirts. Okay, maybe you aren't, but all the cool kids are wearing them. :)

The great comic actor Jim Carrey must have heard this about Bruce Lee, because in 1985, Jim wrote himself a check dated 10 years in the future -- 1995 -- and he wrote the check for $10 million.

Both of these guys could SEE themselves successful. They believed it. And they took steps to achieve it.

I don't have $10 million, but I know the power of setting a goal, writing down the steps to achieve that goal, and then taking those steps, one by one, until the goal is reached.

In 2008, a week after being diagnosed with a heart condition, I was fired from a six-figure job in Tampa, Florida. For a couple of days, I was knocked back a step, wondering what to do, feeling a lot of uncertainty about my heart and the future.

Three days after being fired, I came up with the idea for an online internal gongfu school. I imagined what it would look like and the content I would create for it. I told my wife, Nancy, who was also shocked that we were in Tampa and I was suddenly unemployed, and she didn't say it, but she had no idea how I was going to do it.

This was in April, 2008. Some Taiji people I talked with said it couldn't be done. "You can't teach Taiji online," they said. On July 4th, 2008, I launched my "online school" - -- to the world. I've been working it and building on it ever since, and I have seen a lot of students improve their skills through the videos and the live classes. 

Around 2013, I decided to begin writing e-books. In the next few years, I wrote several, plus a paperback book on Internal Body Mechanics. 

A few months ago, I thought of writing a book that I have wanted to read for 50 years but couldn't find one like it -- a book with a young Zen Buddhist monk receiving guidance on a variety of issues and ethical topics from his old Zen master. I decided if I wrote two or three small Zen stories, sometimes called koans (not the paradoxical statements) each day I could finish the book by my birthday, which is next week.

I'm going to achieve that goal. The book is almost done with 88 short Zen parables.

No matter what you have been hoping to do, whether it's achieve skill in Taiji, Xingyi or Bagua, earn a black belt in another martial art, achieve success in your career, or write a book, this works. You need to visualize your success. What does it look like? What does it feel like? 

Let's say you want a black belt in a martial art. You write it down as your goal. Then, you list the steps to take and write down a deadline for each step. Write it down by hand, not on a computer.

For example, if you want to learn Chen Taiji, you can see the steps to take on the Curriculum section of my website. Step-by-Step, I can help set your goals. But YOU are the one who has to believe it, see your success in your mind, and then take those steps one by one. Set a deadline for each step.

Don't make a general goal. See yourself achieving it and feel what that success would feel like. Then set dates -- hard deadlines. Write down the steps and set a deadline for each step. Then start taking those steps. It's a simple formula, but it's easier for people to not believe they can do something. Setting a goal and achieving it is work. But your goal is out there, ready for you.

You really can do it. If you can believe it, you can achieve it. The only question now is, do you believe it?

--by Ken Gullette


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