Become the Constant in the Equation

“We do not rise to the level of our expectations. We fall to the level of our training.”

One need not be a mathematician to understand that it is impossible to solve an equation with more variables than constants. Yet, when faced with difficult situations in our lives, we often place upon ourselves this unreasonable expectation. Sadly, misguided expectations form the basis of much of the disappointment and frustration we experience and moreover, prevent us from reaching our potential.

How then, do we achieve our goals when we have more variables than constants? How do we make informed decisions, respond properly in dynamic situations, and make progress when life’s equations seem unsolvable? The answer is simple….you, must become the constant in the equation.

I have been fortunate to witness several martial art matches involving true masters, many of whom were more than sixty years of age. Invariably, I saw the masters effortlessly defeat younger, more physically fit and capable opponents. In many instances, the master was simultaneously sparring multiple opponents! It appeared to me that the opponents were attacking in slow motion, and that the master was anticipating their attacks as if choreographed. Having myself been the “victim” of such encounters, I can assure you this was not the case begging the question, “how can one individual so completely control an encounter containing so many variables (opponents)?

To achieve martial arts mastery, a student must train for years to perfect their technique until such time that the practitioner and the technique are one. When this happens, action is no longer directed by conscious thought. Instead, the unconscious mind drives the body resulting in quicker, more precise and intuitive action. Conversely, when action is directed by conscious thought, as it is with a novice, movement is more reactive than intuitive because the mind serves as a filter upon action.

Martial art masters have achieved the ability to act without conscious thought thereby making their movements incredibly quick and powerful. To the uninitiated it looks as if the masters know what their opponents are attempting well in advance of the attack. In reality, the masters are simply “seeing” things as they truly are i.e. without the bias of conscious thought. By achieving this level of mental clarity and technical proficiency, the masters effectively become the constant in the equation.

Like the masters, we too can transform ourselves and dramatically increase the likelihood of a successful outcome. Moreover, you can apply this principle to every facet of your life. Once you learn successfully apply the principle to one aspect of your life, it becomes easier to apply throughout your entire life. I have applied this principle in numerous personal and professional settings ranging from high risk anxiety-producing situations faced working as a special agent, to high-stakes board room negotiations.

The key to becoming the constant in the equation lies in the ability to control your anxiety and fear of the unknown. Taken together, these emotions tax your conscious mind to the point where they impede performance. They erode confidence which fuels the fire of insecurity and clouds you conscious mind. Fortunately, this doesn’t need to happen.