Have you ever known that tweak of shame when you’re feeling impatient and do something you know is unkind but do it anyway? A sharp word? A loud sigh? Perhaps an intimidating look designed to quell another person’s words?
My confession. Recently I’ve been doing all those things. It’s becoming a habit. Not promising for someone who aspires to the Warrior Spirit as described by Coach Pei in this article. One stanza makes this all too clear:
‘The stronger spirited one [the Warrior Spirit] could easily overcome the weaker spirited person just by a look but this is not the mean spirited look of popular films.
The stronger spirited one will lead the weaker one who will follow without hesitation, in trust.
The Warrior Spirit is compassionate.’
Reading these words took away all my excuses. I could no longer let myself off the hook.
I tried telling myself ‘Perhaps it isn’t all that bad, you don’t do it that often.’ But was that true? I tracked the times this happened over several weeks. Even I couldn’t talk my way out of this one. The numbers screamed habit.
So what am I to do? I’m 57. Can I change my character at this stage in life? Will I ever manifest my Warrior Spirit?
To paraphrase Coach Pei: Repeated actions become habit. Habit shapes character. Character shapes destiny. The reality of these words are the source of my concern. They also present the solution.
I am reminded I can evolve my character and shape my destiny - even at 57 - if I pay attention to my habits. I can refine and build new habits around how I think, what I say, what I do.
Interrupting and letting go of this unwanted habit won’t happen overnight and I may slip up occasionally. But that’s OK. Nothing worthwhile happens overnight. But it does happen if we're consistent. It just takes repeating one small step at a time. Interrupting one unwanted behavior at a time.
Recognizing the truth of this, I dare once again to aspire to my Warrior Spirit.
My wish for all who read this: Know your character can evolve and shape your destiny. Trust in your ability to forge habits that shape your character. Recognize the truth of this that you too may experience the feelings of liberation and agency I now enjoy.
Chen Taiji Student of Coach Christopher Pei
As I write this, I’m also reminded of the meaning of the Chinese Characters for "Shu" in Wushu. Scroll to the bottom of the page in this link to learn why.