by Sifu Brown
Consistency is a key attribute of “mastery” in any field or endeavor. Given the plethora of research pointing to approximately 10,000 hours of practice needed to achieve expert-level performance in a given area, violin, for example, the would be expert must be consistent in his or her practice and devotion to the tasks.I have often been remiss in this area. Chi training every other day, or missing a few days in between due to the excuses of life, work, family, and reruns of old favorite television shows for the fifth time will not help us grow. Sifu Jones has called me out on more than one occasion with regards to my negligence and wonderful talent to waste time: shamefully, solitaire on any PC is my Achilles heel.
One of the beautiful aspects of the online School of Chi Energy method is that it requires so little time each day, when you are at the Instructor level: 10 minutes of minimal physical effort. I’ve logged well over 100,000 hours playing solitaire, but have not done so with my chi training which is, in truth, something I am genuinely passionate about. While reflecting on the “why”, taking into account of the immediacy of the reward of procrastination, I came across an article that pointed to a scientific finding we’ve all known intuitively: willpower is a finite resource, and many of us are simply running out or not spending it wisely.
In the article apply titled “Conserve Your Willpower: It Runs Out”, Judy Dutton reports on studies in willpower performed by Roy Baumeister, a psychologist at Florida State University, who coauthored the book “Willpower: Rediscovering the Greatest Human Strength” with John Tierney. It turns out that willpower is a finite resource, similar to a fixed income or the amount of gas in a vehicle’s fuel reserves. Intangible in its essence, willpower is something that can be depleted and takes time to replenish.
Armed with this knowledge, we can set ourselves up for success mindfully choosing our battles: do I break my diet and eat that cookie now so I can have the focus to go to the gym later or; do I refuse the cookie, go to the gym, only to crash and binge days later? It reminds me of the lessons in moderation Sifu Jones instructed me in during my early days under his tutelage.
Apparently, I am still learning. According to Tierney: “People with the best self-control aren’t the ones who use it all day long. They’re people who structure their lives so they conserve it.”Making my chi training a priority, I’ve noticed that I am a softer judge on myself when it comes to being less than rigid in other areas, for example, choosing a cookie instead of an orange or, putting in about 85% effort into a technical exchange business meeting as opposed to a full 100% of focused geekdom.
Learning to allow the spirit to experience human shortcomings, I have reserves in my willpower tank to be consistent with my chi training, which, by the nature of its design and effects, more than compensate for my shortcomings in other areas. Like a good buddy of mine who is also a certified instructor in the online School of Chi Energy Training recently reminded me: everything just gets easier. Amen. As we continue our chi training, we must remain consistent. Without consistency, we are stagnant – no growth, no journey.
Enjoy the journey.