Friday, June 4, 2010

Fear of Failing

I read a great post by Megan at Tangled Triangle this morning that got me thinking. I said a couple of posts ago that I hit a breakthrough in my game but couldn't put my finger on it.

I think I figured out what it is. I knew that relaxing and being able to move more fluidly while I was rolling was a big key, but the even bigger key was why I was ABLE to relax in the first place.

If you follow my blog, you will know that in the past months I struggle with the debilitating Bluebeltitis disease. I didn't want to tap to white belts. Heck, I didn't even want them passing my guard. I didn't want to "let down" my instructors by not performing at some level I had set up in my own mind. Basically, I was walking into every class with a huge, self-imposed weight on my shoulders.

Then, I realized a few things that--when I am able to keep them at the forefront of my mind going into class--liberate me from all the pressure I was putting on myself.

1. No one is really all that concerned with how good or bad I do on any given day. The gym doesn't revolve around me (big shock!) and it's not like everyone is sitting around waiting for me to mess up. I mean, my instructors and teammates care about me. If I have a good day, they'll say, "Hey, you're moving well." If I have a bad day, they'll say, "Don't worry about it. You'll do better next time." But I got it in my head that I had to KEEP doing well to keep everyones' "good opinion" of me. That is just stupid because I am not coming to BJJ to keep them happy. I am coming because I love the sport. Of course I want people to like me. But they're going to like me for me, not because I roll well.

2. I don't need to rush through my BJJ experiences. I don't need to constantly be worried about all of the areas where I am not doing well. I will improve over time and I can't really do all that much to speed it up. It's kind of like expectant mothers in the last few weeks of their pregnancy. They want that baby out. But guess what? The baby will come when it's good and ready and not a minute before. In the same way, I can't expect myself to be perfect at my techniques at this level. I am still a beginner. And now I am ok with that. In fact, I am enjoying it. I don't want to rush through my training anymore. It's all fun. I just want to enjoy it. Which brings me to my last point...

3. BJJ is fun. That's why I started it in the first place, isn't it? If I make it about all this pressure, it loses the magic that lured me in and becomes a chore. I come to the gym and pay to learn BJJ not because I have to, but because it is something I enjoy. Or at least, it is supposed to be! I can tell when my head is in the wrong place if I start dreading going to class. If I am dreading going to class, it is usually because I am worried that I am not going to do well. Then I have to have a little chat with myself about points one and two, and remind myself that THIS IS MY HOBBY! lol No lives are at stake. Nothing hangs in the balance waiting to see whether or not I can finish a submission today or defend my guard. It's all a game. And if I am not enjoying it, then why am I playing?

I knew all of these things in my head, but convincing myself to believe them in my heart (as corny as that sounds) was the key for me. A lot of that is due to a lot of great teammates and some people on here-- Dev, Liam, Georgette, Leslie and Can to name a few--who convinced me that I was being retarded and needed to chill out about my perfectionism. Thanks guys! ;) Now I can come to the gym and be relaxed because I don't have all this unnecessary pressure on myself. If I have a good day, I'm going to enjoy it. If I'm off, I'm going to learn from it. But above all, I am going to enjoy the experience and the people.


Liam H Wandi said...

This is such a female thing!

I remember very clearly stating that you are "perfect"... and how do you interpret that??

"Liam.....etc...who convinced me that I was being retarded"


A.D. McClish said...

LOL Liam. One thing you have consistently said that I have taken to heart was that we all need to enjoy the journey. I'm definitely trying to just enjoy the process now instead of being as focused on "progress".

leslie said...

I dunno that I've helped besides commiserating since we're definitely separated grappling twins. Only in addition to white belts, I don't want blues, purples, or browns passing my guard, lol. #1 is what's hanging me up big time.

NinjaEditor said...

Oh, perfectionism. It can be helpful or debilitating, as you said. :-) I'm prone to it myself, so I'm definitely going to keep this post in mind in the next few months.

Megan said...

#2 is a BIG hurdle for me. Learning to relax into the flow of the learning process is going to take me a while, but I think that's the great thing about the time it takes to progress through BJJ belts. Most of the belt horizons are long term, so it's not easy to latch on too hard to them as goals. Well, I guess you could, but it's probably not the best idea.

...and thanks:)

Dev said...

Hell yeah! Nicely said. :)