Recent studies have been done by psychologists and psychiatrists to find out which character traits are shared by successful people. They found that, aside from natural potential like intelligence and talent, three personality traits were key. These are:
Conscientiousness – Conscientious people are careful about the things they do. They are organized, plan ahead, arrive on time, have a thoughtful and careful approach to things, stick to their schedule, set goals and do everything possible to achieve them.
Grit – People with ‘grit’ are willing to work hard and “grind” through challenges. They rise to the level that life throws at them and are driven to succeed despite hardship. Gritty people get the job done.
Courageous Control – Also known as ‘Fearless Dominance’, people with courageous control can stay calm under pressure and get the job done. They are not intimidated by situations or people and navigate through difficult challenges. With structure and a sense of honor, these people tend to be very successful and great leaders.
These traits are all woven into the classes at ZenQuest. In fact, THAT is what ‘ZenQuest’ is all about! We might use slightly different words and even hide some of these principles for kids, but they are there:
Mindfulness – This is just another way of saying conscientiousness. We talk about mindfulness and mindful movement a lot in our classes. Essentially, once you step on the mats everything you do should be done with focus, purpose and care. This leads to focus, purpose and care in our daily lives over time.
Perseverance – In training we often refer to ‘grit’ as perseverance. This is an essential part of any martial art worth it’s salt. In order to be successful in Karate, Muay Thai, Jiu-jitsu or MMA, hard work and dedication is required. Some martial arts schools promote students on a schedule regardless of their progress and growth, but rank or status should be earned and not given. In Okinawan, grit is called ‘gambarimas.’ There is a saying there that highlights their approach to challenges in life ”fall down seven times, stand up eight times.”
Calm Focus – Most martial arts incorporate practicing to be calm and focused in training or courageous control. In Thai Kickboxing they call this ‘sabai.’ In Okinawan Karate they call it ‘fudoshin’, and in Brazilian Jiu-jitsu it’s called ‘tranquillo.’ In each art the idea is the same, to be very calm and methodical under pressure. Although this can be challenging at times, it allows a person to perform well regardless of what difficulties are put in front of them.
Cultivating traits like mindfulness, perseverance, and calm focus are essential for being successful in the martial arts and in LIFE! This applies to people of any age, but is especially important for children. Establishing these qualities early can improve the quality of life, for the rest of their lives. Through dedication and regular training in the Dojo these important life-skills can be learned and reinforced.