(photo: pocketheart ☂ (afton))

Employ the example of putting the fake it until you make it principle to use. Even as we are pretending to be something we are not at first, with constant and never-ending improvement and a great role model, we will eventually master the skills we are working toward.

Many of our actions are responses borrowed from our parents and friends. When we enter a specific state of mind (such as fear or anger), we then act accordingly based on the way we see things or what we learned in the past.

Perhaps your mom screams when she sees a spider. Your father throws objects when he is angry. You may have adopted many of the same behaviors. You may have heard that we become our parents. This happens because we adopt habits from the people that surround us on a regular basis.

Wouldn’t it make sense then to surround ourselves with positive people?

The same thing happens in the martial arts. Students pick up specific behaviors based on the specific style that they are studying. When I teach students with previous experience in karate, they might subconsciously get into a side stance after I ask them stand as if they were prepared to fight or if I ask them to get into a unique stance immediately after a forward roll. A side stance is not the most realistic posture to have, but since this is something that has been taught to them in the past, they perform it over and over again on a subconscious level. Even when I ask them to change, they have to consciously be aware of what they are doing and adjust. So we are continuously re-training or re-programming them.

I will work with students to teach them to learn a new set of behaviors that are more realistic for their individual success as martial artists. I have students that are used to dropping their hands when they kick, so I must re-train them to keep their guard up. It is often easier to train a student with no martial arts experience, as I am not forced to train against previous patterns or beliefs.

And, just as a student of the martial arts picks up specific patterns from their martial arts family, you too have picked up ways to react to situations based on your upbringing, schooling, and environment.

If you are in a specific state of mind, what you do in that moment will most likely be a response you learned by observing the world around you. By watching your parents as a child, you learned to react the same way that they did when they were in a specific state of mind. So although we would like to copy our creators, it might be a good idea to review your actions and make sure that they are meeting your current needs as an individual.

Your parents may very well have been great role models, and you might have adopted some extremely positive and powerful values, beliefs, and reactions to specific states of mind. However, the idea is to realize that you are in control and not limited to a history of previous experiences, and that you also might have adopted some responses that don’t help you to succeed today. So cancel out the negative reactions and replace them with specific beliefs that are positive for you.

One strategy for changing our beliefs or adapting new positive responses would be to emulate the positive attributes of people we respect and admire. How do our heroes represent the world? What do they say and what do they visualize? How do they move or feel? How do they react and respond? If you imitate role models (even super heroes) or people who respond positively when in specific states of mind, doing so will send the same signals to your brain and produce similar results.

Model Behavior

When you want to be a Black Belt at what you do and achieve a desired result, you can emulate the attitude of a person who is already a high achiever in the same field.

If you copy the actions of another it will reproduce a similar result.

Find people who have done or are successful at doing what you want. They could be people who achieved the same results you desire, or it could be a team of people who were once in the same challenging position and using a specific strategy or set of actions, found a way to pull ahead. Use their momentum, as a race car driver drafts for advantage in the wake of another.

You too can take a turn at being a good example for . . . you. We can use our past results as models of success. If you want to be at your best now, think of a time you were at your best state of mind in the past. You need to relive the experience in order to tap into the power you already have programmed inside your brain.

The information of our life is saved in our unconscious much like saving a file on a hard drive of a computer. If you know how to find it, you can access it over and over again. Your brain’s super computer can and should be used on a regular basis to get back into a state of mind you’ve already experienced.

In order to best model a past experience, we want to pretend we are actors attempting to repeat the experience as best as possible. A good actor can become another person, adapting their physiology and tonality. Since you are simply reliving a past experience, it will be much easier to tap into that power.

To gain experience we will have to fail. The people with the most knowledge are the ones who failed more times than anyone else. That is why it is important to have a coach who can teach you as much about their experience as possible.

Experience is eventually the number one key to developing your skill, but your coach’s past is not enough. You may have had a great martial arts instructor and modeled his performance, but you’re going to really learn when you go out on your own and gain some personal experience. But you can speed up your progress by learning to avoid repeating the same mistakes. So it is wise to add positive role models to your environment.

Get in line.

When I begin a class in the martial arts, I do so by announcing, “Straight line!” At this point, students line up with the highest ranks being on the left. We keep a straight line by standing even with (modeling) the person to the left. Without this simple strategy of looking at the person next to us, we would have a very unorganized line. We can have a perfect line with 2 to 2,000 or more people if everyone simply models the exact same position as the person on their left. If you model the person in the right place then you too will be in the right place. If you model the person that is out of line then you too will be out of line.

People with limited goals don’t make good friends with those who want to achieve and stretch past their limits. Average people are quick to point out the failures of others. To the average, it might be a failure, but not for the strategist; to him it is just another experience that will eventually lead him to his goals. A failure is a lesson, just as a success is a lesson. We learn from both.

Role models can be a great way to get inspiration to succeed. You can even use them to help you solve problems or answer questions by simply asking:

What would your role model do?

Hopefully your role models are positive, confident examples with characteristics you want to copy for yourself. So choosing a rock star with an addictive lifestyle as a role model may not be the best course of action. Unless of course your goal is to become a drug addicted drummer. Hopefully that is not the case. You and your chosen role model must have congruent values and beliefs, or at least you must believe that they do. Bruce Lee was one of my role models as a child and his movies were a great inspiration to me. I could simply ask, “What would Bruce Lee do in this situation?”

A note of caution:

Your role model, chosen because he or she is a great example of what you want to be, is not going to be a perfect person in all aspects of their lives. No one is.

For kids who don’t have real people in their lives to model (outside of their immediate family), you could have them ask, “What would Batman, Spiderman, or Superman do?” Your kids will hopefully have a cartoon hero other than a square sponge.

In the martial arts world, students often emulate their instructors and if they move on to teach the same system as their master instructor then they will be far more likely to succeed.

I remember one of my students that was extremely talented at copying the way that I taught and spoke during a class. He was so good at emulating me, that I would often have to remind him that he was not me when he made statements like, “If I’ve said it once, I have said it a thousand times…” Even though this was only his first few classes as a new instructor. He was so talented at role modeling, that he was able to take this skill and use it to completely change his life from a 17-year-old kid from Canada, to an impressively active young adult now living in Europe – all because he was able to copy the key ingredients of a recipe for success.

Winjitsu Work Out

Why reinvent the feel?

Think of a time in the past (a stored memory) when you felt good (or positive, or energetic, or successful). Now run this memory through the Mind, Body, and Spirit filter by asking the following questions:


What did you think about, imagine, or visualize enhancing this emotion?


How did you stand, breathe, and feel to make this feeling reach its height?


What was happening around you that supported this feeling?

This is also a good time to think about role models. Go back over your journal notes and review your big dream – your ultimate goal (not your stepping stone goals). Is there someone who ideally reflects or represents your big dream?

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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