Calculated Risk

How to prepare for life and warm up for success

(photo: edesignpics)

Over confidence has caused many a plane crash and a downfall, as Life Challenges and Mental Demons are lurking nearby.  Being aware and prepared – warming up – is one of the keys to success.

Perhaps you are thinking that if I can do jumps in the Grand Canyon, there is no way I would have very much to fear.  You would be wrong.  Just like everyone else, there are things that frighten or intimidate me.  I still have to muster up the courage to speak to an audience as much as the next guy.

But much of my performance is based on all the hours I spend preparing. Preparation builds competence which is far more powerful than confidence alone.

I am not fearless, and I’m not crazy

This jump is a good example of taking a calculated risk.  I have prepared enough in the past with rock jumping that this leap is one of faith—belief in my training and experience.  This one is special because of the location and the fact that if you don’t stop, you will get a closer look at the canyon than you ever wanted!

The most frightening part of this jump was not the leap itself.  In fact, I did it once for myself and another time for the photographer.  But the frightening part of the jump was on my second flight. I heard a gasp so loud that it seemed to come out of the mouth of the canyon itself.  I later discovered that busses had unloaded quite a few tourists, many of whom saw me jump and could only release that universal expression of, “OH MY ______!”  I think they feared they were witnessing a suicidal daredevil.

The strategy before you leap (whether in the Grand Canyon or into a business deal) is a good warm up.

Risks are a lot more calculated if you have training to back them up.  You can further enhance your ability to calculate risk with the Percentage Principle taught at the end of this book.  Before you have your next business meeting, warm up.  Before your next big fight, break a light sweat.  You stretch before you jog, right?  It’s the same principle.  You could review your notes and questions or practice your speech.  Whatever the case, just remember to take a small step before you make a leap.  Before instructors teach a class, they form a mental picture of what they would like the class to be like before they actually teach it.   Athletes use this technique as well.  They visualize what that touchdown or home run will look like; the sound the crack of the bat will make, and they hear the crowd cheering before they are even seated.

A warm up is preparation for an upcoming event, struggle, or performance.

Do you always need a warm up?  Yes and no.  If you suffer from approach anxiety (one to three seconds to act before doubt takes over), then a warm up might keep you from taking action.  This condition is rare however, and can usually be overcome with training.

I like to think that we always need a warm up in one way or another.  Even in a situation where you need to act fast, you should have some previous training to back you up.  This is to say, that a warm up doesn’t always have to be right before the event.

When I moved to Europe I was more than warmed up and ready to spread my system of martial arts.  Although it was an instant decision when I decided to go, I had prepared and warmed up for two years prior.   I was ready and knew I was ready, so the instant decision to do it was not rash.  It was a calculated risk.

In combat, there are many ways to prepare.  If someone is close enough to attack, then you might lower your center of gravity so you can have more balance.  This will keep your opponent or opponents from throwing you all over the place.  You prepare yourself for stability. Another scenario might be that you are eating in a restaurant, and you notice some rough-looking thugs come into the building.  You could prepare yourself by getting into a safer position and perhaps collect some weapons to use in case a situation arises.  No matter what it is you do, you must always prepare if you are going to be your best.   Turning your head, being oblivious, hoping for the best, are not strategies.

Warming up is merely preparation

Though the concept of warming up sounds familiar and maybe even obvious enough to just disregard, don’t.  Keep it as a regular habit.  Be sure and ask yourself consistently the many ways of preparation.  After rock climbing for a few years I have gotten fairly comfortable on the rocks.  It is easy to consider yourself safe on a ledge to the point where you don’t think you need to clip in or run an extra safety line in case you were to fall.  This is an over-confident state of mind.  Trust is key in life, but being aware of the possible (although minute) chance that things may not go as planned, will keep you out of harm’s way.

Sometimes we just don’t notice when it should be applied.  It has been said that prevention is the best medicine.  Prevention starts with preparation.

In an effort to seize the day, we can focus on starting out each day with a little preparation, just as we do in the martial arts.  Before beginning class in the martial arts, it is proper to sign in as a group.  This is the time we take prior to class to briefly focus on what it is we want to achieve and to show respect to those around us.  We bow to the philosophy that we will do our best to grow in mind, body, and spirit and then salute (right fist covered by a left hand) the instructor, thanking him or her for teaching the ways of the Martial Science.  The instructor also salutes the students, thanking them for sharing their time and energy to learn.

When signing in with a group, you follow the same steps for a common order and structure.  Normally I do not believe in too much common order or structure because it can lead to a lack of individualism and innovation.  But in this case, because the order is set in a positive sense, it is actually beneficial for the student of life to have some form of foundation or structure.

Looking forward:  I will explain a very simple way to do this in CMT – Book 5 of Winjitsu.

Winjitsu Work Out

The strategy used to start a class is one that you could use to start your day.  Prior to swallowing your toast and running out the door with your briefcase and tie in hand, it would be wise to “sign in” for the day, to take some time out in the morning and go through a goal-setting session using the principles of a mind-body-spirit focus.  Try it!

About the Author RICK TEW

I will do the splits for you too. I provide edutainment events that help you to be a Ninja in what you do. I offer Martial Arts Therapy Retreats on Samui Island in Thailand. My unique Winjitsu Mind-Body system of coaching inspires you to BE more fulfilled and to DO more to KickStart your ideas.

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