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"I'm the very best I can be . . . right now!"

We have a series of "Training Themes" at the dojo as part of the "Ohana SEL+ Program"(SEL being Social Emotional Learning). It might be good to quickly re-examine why we have them and what they do for you and your child, especially for those of you new to the dojo. While we know there are many critical skills a child must learn, like such things as emotional self-regulation, empathy and staying on task, what may be even more important is what they develop at the next level. It is turning these basic skills into habits. Think of it like learning the alphabet. After learning your ABC's, the next level is recognizing words, then reading. The next higher level is reading on your own, then writing and creating. Just imagine if your child got really, really good at learning the alphabet then just stoped there? You must go beyond skills. The key to habits is just one thing - REPETITION. Can you see why we repeat the words of the training theme and the student creed over and over again? The pictures and words you put in your head are powerful. Think of it like food for the brain. Would you just start eating rotten scraps out of a trash dumpster? Just like food for your body, learn to treat words, thoughts and pictures for your brain the same way. Here is an experiment that you don't even have to try. From the day your child is born say to them "I hate school". Then once they can talk, make them say "I hate school" once a day. Then put out the same emotion and attitude yourself for them to see. I think you know what would happen. I bet they barely make it through high school if at all. Their brains are not only eating junk food, even worse they are eating poison. This is what the "SEL" part stands for. It is the basic skills, but even more importantly, the habits and mindset to put the skills into application. So, why the "+"? The "+" is a result of what I have learned over the years. The "+" is all the lessons I wish someone had taught me when I was young!!!!!!!! The key to high achievement, success, happiness and fulfillment is not a secret. It is known to everyone who is highly successful. A few folks are born with "it" or had parents who taught it to them. Most of the rest of us have to learn these skills and develop these habits. They are not easy but they can be learned. Our children have a huge advantage over us because they are still young. You know how hard it is to change habits. Are you trying to lose weight or get in better shape again this year? Our young children are just developing their habits. And, most of the habits a young child develops can't help but come from their parents. Before this Sensei Says gets too long. The new Training Theme we are using is a good example of the "+" of this program. I have been fortunate to be around many amazing people both in the military, corporate/education world and in karate. While there are many key habits they have in common, the one that puts most of them over the top is this one - "I'm the very best I can be . . . right now!" There is more to this that most realize. Here is what this means to them. It is not about competition, looking good or beating others. It is about the passion, and really more the obsession, for working hard and being relentless at not just being the best at what the do in the world. It is not even about being the best in the universe. It is about a whole other level. It is about being "The best that has ever been and will ever be!" But wait, there is more that has to be done! They apply this to EVERYTHING they do while most do not. Many will say "I'll work hard when I get my dream job." Or, "I'll put in 100% when I find my passion." Or, I am not going to work any more than I am paid to do." Or, "That's not my job." Instead, it does not matter whether they are sweeping floor at MacDonald's, doing their homework for the class they like least, or going to a soccer practice AGAIN. They do it like it is the most important and only thing they are ever going to do in their life. It might be good to mention the opposite of this habit. It is the habit of "good enough". Good enough is the enemy of achievement and successful. It is the dangerous habit of "Doing just enough to get by." Many get fired or laid off thinking "I did a good job." Men are surprised when their marriage or families break up or fail because they thought they were "good" husbands or "good" fathers. Watch out for seemingly high achieving children. It is not uncommon for them to do just enough to get that "A" but hold back or hesitate to do more for fear of failure. Mediocrity is a learned habit. You can be mediocre at a surprisingly high level! Just Google the studies of what happens to high school valedictorians after high school. Grant Cardone, gives an example I love. Grant is a highly successful entrepreneur but there are many with similar stories. One of his first jobs was selling cars, but he hated selling cars! That did not matter. He said from the start - "I am going to be the best car salesman at this dealership." Soon he was the best car salesman in the U.S." He has a powerful saying we also use here - "You don't have to like something, to love something." Here is one golden nugget I will leave for our teen students. When you get that first entry level job it will not be your dream job and will not pay you a six figure salary. No matter what the job. No matter if you like or are good at it. You work that job with this one relentless objective - To do that job at a level of the best there and has ever been and the best there will ever be!" Here is the final kicker. Those who has learned this do this without having to motivate or convince themselves to work hard. They just do it without thinking. It has just become a HABIT. I wish someone had taught me this when I was young! Yours for stronger kids, Sensei

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