11.) Keep it Playful
This lesson is actually a supplementary training method proposed by Ryron Gracie, a younger well-spoken member of the Gracie family. ‘Keep it Playful’ training sessions deemphasizes athleticism and victory, allowing sparring partners to hone technique and explore their abilities through relaxed, fun. The concept can also provide an enlightened lens in which one can view training and life as a whole.
I want to talk about my good friend and former Paragon teammate Antonio. Personality wise, Antonio was, in many ways, the polar opposite of the old me. Super relaxed, easy going, and carefree. Even a bit lazy. By contrast, I used to be really hard on myself. As a zealous high school wrestler, I came from a run-hard-lift-hard-pride-on-the-line-die-before-I-quit school of thought. Guess who became the more successful fighter? I’m not even close.
While I struggled to maintain the whole Saiyan Prince identity, Antonio focused on finding love in what he did and became, in his words, a ‘nerd’ about it. His results? Exponential improvement. My results? The work ethic I was so proud of was unsustainable after I had burned myself out. Because Antonio kept that playful attitude, he was able to push himself much harder with far more consistency. I won’t be surprised to see his name in the magazines one day.
Someone once told me that some activists are the world’s most cynical people because for every one person that tries to help the world, it seems that there are ten try to hurt it. Although understandable, low moral equates to low performance. If you are not having fun doing something, chances are you will not be doing your best work. In my observations, many activists wear themselves down because they take their work too seriously.
Like anything in life, it is important to remain balanced. Grab onto anything too tightly and something is going to break: either the person grabbing it or the item being grabbed. The grittier your work, the more important it is to find playfulness amongst the bleakest of situations. Keeping it playful keeps your mind sharp, your willpower consistent, and your focus prolonged. At the very least, people will be attracted to your positive energy and be curious to join in.