I have written extensively about martial arts as a catalyst for personal mastery in life. Yet, the opposite is equally true. How you show up in life, is how you will show up on the mat. I believe the mat, and life, or life and the mat are in a constant symbiotic relationship. They are both reliable on each other to be successful.
I am the kind of person that feels success is never by accident, but rather by design. While this design may not always be explicit or obvious, it still remains a product of a cumulation of controllable choice acts. For example, if you cannot be on time in everyday life, you will likely not be on time for training and arrive less than ready. If your house is a mess, untidy, and cluttered, your martial arts game on the mat, will not be precise, measured, and focused. If you are unable to listen and appreciate another persons point of view — yes, a point of view that may be different to your own — then you will likely be unable to listen on the mat when valuable advice is given (simply because we tend to hold onto what we feel comfortable with, not necessary what’s right). If all you want to do is beat people in life, then all you ever do is try to beat people on the mat. The outcome, you learn to dominate, but never learn equanimity.
To up your game on the mat, you need to up your game in life. You need to take the time and look carefully at the every day things that occur in your life that are frequent obstacles. Most people always focus on the big crisis in their lives, but in my experience, what often unhinges your success are the small successive points of pain that we simply overlook, or put off till the next day.
Success isn’t focusing on the big things, but cumulatively on the small things in your control each and every day. You can choose to be on time for training, or better still be at class 15-min before, so you can leave the day you had behind you, and warm up to be fully present for the upcoming task. You can choose to focus on your best game for that day not the one from yesterday or on dreams of what could be tomorrow. You can choose to see mistakes as opportunities to get things right, rather than unrecoverable failures. You can choose to work with people on the mat, instead of against them. You can choose to put your ego aside, so not only do you grow, but everyone else in your presence does too. You can choose to not get emotional based on one bad experience, and recognise true success is the culmination of just being there, and by being consistent.
Non of this is possible unless you do the same in your life. Your life, and how you manage it — informs your training, your future game — just as much as that game will inform how you show up in life.