Practice Like a Shaolin Monk

Matt | Goals | Sunday, February 13th, 2011

Growing up I dreamed of being a kung fu (gong fu) expert.  Kung fu was a magical power that some people seemed to have.  There was a mystical aura to it.  People who knew kung fu seemed able to do just about anything and as a young boy that was what I had wanted.

Living in China gave me the opportunity to fulfill my dream, or a small sliver of that fading vision, by visiting the kung fu experts at the Shaolin Temple in Henan.  There I got the chance to see the unbelievable skill and strength of these Shaolin monks.

While there, I also had a chance to watch them practice.  I then realized their secret.

Here it is: Shaolin monks were great because they practiced perfectly.

  • They practiced kung fu 4 hours per day, six days per week
  • They drilled 2 hours in the morning and 2 hours in the afternoon
  • They did this for years with other like-minded individuals
  • They worked with coaches who were experts already

It was their practice, their perfect work ethic, that made them seem magical.  This was a powerful realization for me because it meant that I could be a Shaolin monk too if and only if I put in the effort.

Some other ways to achieve any goal (taken from my workout book – Nov. 2007)

  1. Decide what you want
  2. Seek out people who have done it already and ASK them everything you can
  3. Plan for success
  4. Expect challenges (plan for the turbulence)
  5. Do it
  6. Ride out the turbulence
  7. Review and learn from it
It is unlikely that I will become a kung fu expert or a Shaolin monk, but I know whatever I want to do, effort is the fuel that will get me there.  You can do anything as long as you put the time and effort into it.

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