I have been lucky to call many people “students”. Over the years it has been thousands. I have interacted or worked with over 1,000 bodies and I want to add that I have also been UN-lucky enough to call some of these people “students”. Now, these people obviously don’t stick around for long, which is best for everyone. However, I want to clue you in on some of the best students I have ever had, along with the qualities they all share. These people have not surprisingly made the quickest and most sustainable progress out of everyone I have come into contact with.
First, all of my BEST students of all time have a “growth mindset”. This refers to their willingness to learn and introspect. They see failure as an opportunity to learn. They never say can’t, but rather ask how. They recognize their inability as potential to overcome obstacles. You can see the fire burning in their eyes. They want to know…
How can I do it better?
Is there anything you see that I can improve?
What should I be working on to reach this goal?
These people have an intense focus on the task at hand, and a desire to go beyond being bossed around to do “some exercises.” They want to learn and be criticized. Not many are willing to be criticized, but those are the ones who need it most. The first quality of these students is their “growth mindset.” (Click for more)
The second quality that these students share is the desire to help others. They feel the need to give back. If you are new, they are the first people to grab you and catch you up. They know the struggle, and they want you to know that you too can accomplish anything you set your mind to. That is, with a growth mindset at least. Students who are more focused on themselves tend to progress less quickly due to the critical feedback and criticism a partner will share with you. These students invite criticism from others – no matter what level the other student is at. My students will often criticize me on movements they have never even tried. I respect this, because they know I can raise my own standards. The best students often become teachers whether or not they lead the class.
The third quality these students share is obsessive work ethic. They don’t delude themselves. They know the method and the processes work. They know we utilize and improve upon the best practices. They know that the practice only works, if you do. They don’t want anything handed to them. The feeling of overcoming struggle is well worth the times they fell on their faces. Obsessive work ethic doesn’t mean you train 4 hours a day. It means you are willing to do what must be done to get where you want to go. This could mean doing 3 sets of a particular exercise at home – for 2 days a week on top of when you come to class. So, that’s about 10-20 minutes a week right? Most people have more excuses than a pregnant nun.
So, where do you fall? Do you have one of these qualities? Maybe two, or all three? By no means is it an exhaustive list, but I urge you to identify where you fall short and immediately address those areas.
Ask yourself and journal the following questions.
Do I find myself saying I can’t, or coming up with alternative excuses for something?
Do I find that I am impatient, and expect results to come before I have really given an effort of weeks/months?
Do I find that I focus more on myself, and less on others?
Do I find that I react to criticism with an excuse or a counter, rather than with open ears and a follow up question?
Do I find that I track my work and practice particular skills or movements outside of being “ordered” to?
Repeat this exercise quarterly to start, and then semi-annually over time. The progress you will make by being able to address these hard to face questions will do more for your life than scratching the winning lottery ticket.
Keep training and learning!
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