When you Google Indomitable Spirit, what comes up is…
People described as having indomitable spirits don't need pep talks or protein shakes; their strength comes from within. The adjective indomitable starts with the Latin prefix in, which means "not." The second part of the word is also from the Latin word domitare, meaning "to tame."
Russell Redenbaugh was building a model rocket in his garage when he was 16 years old. The rocket went off accidentally leaving him totally blind and with permanent damage to both hands (he lost 6 fingers).
He was determined to not live the life as a typical handicap person. He shifted his focus to action. He focused on what he could do, and not what he couldn’t. Despite being rejected by Stanford and Harvard, he went on to earn an MBA from the Wharton School in the University of Pennsylvania.
At the age of fifty, Redenbaugh started training in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu. He went on to train with Phil Migliarese, Saulo Ribeiro, Jean Jacques Machado and Eduardo Rocha, and to fight sighted opponents.
As a blind person missing fingers, he won the World Jiu-Jitsu Championships for his weight and belt in 2003, 2004 and 2005. He also competed in the unlimited weight division each year, earning silver medals in 2004 and 2005. In 2010, Redenbaugh became a Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu black belt.
Today he is an ultra-successful economist, investor, and inspirational speaker.
Russell wrote a book entitled, “Shift the Narrative: A Blind Man’s Vision for Rewriting the Stories that Limit Us”
Check out his TED Talk here: https://youtu.be/AOOc3VO_Gyg
I remember this like it was yesterday. I had just been hired at the local martial arts school where I trained to be a part-time instructor. I was 15 years old. I was hired to teach 3 days week and my hourly wage at the time was $4.25/hour.
Of course, this was back in 1992.
I was thrilled! I was going to get paid to teach martial arts…something I was happy doing for free.
Side note: I still feel that way today! Teaching martial arts is my dream job and I count my blessing every day I get to do it for a living.
Back to the message. The next morning, I was in the kitchen, getting my breakfast ready when my dad told me he wanted to talk to me. He sat me down and gave me a talk that has stuck with me ever since.
He told me that the school I worked for was counting on me to be there to work certain days and I had to take that responsibility seriously. He told me never to slack off and make some B.S. excuse about why I couldn’t go to work one day.
My dad is a very gruff, to the point, kind of guy. He doesn’t know how to sugar coat anything!
He drilled into me that being “kind of” sick or “not feeling that well” was not a reason to not show up to work. “They hired you. They are counting on you, and you have a responsibility to be there to do your job.”
I got the message loud and clear, and the reason the message sunk in was because my dad lived by that philosophy himself. He never called in sick or ditched work because he was up too late the night before. It just didn’t happen. I can hardly remember him not going to work.
He lead by example. He walked his talk, and I saw it. Message received Pops!
Now for the second message he gave me that morning that continues to impact me to this day. He said, “Craig, you are making your own money now. We aren’t rich people, so when you need or want something…you can pay for it yourself.”
Funny thing, I didn’t think that my dad was being hard on me. Him and my mom were hard workers. They worked hard every day at their jobs and then worked hard on the house during the weekends. They weren’t lazy. They were responsible people.
My dad’s talk taught me the value of money and how important it was to spend it wisely. If I wasted it, I wasn’t going to have the funds to buy what I needed later.
Great lesson! Thanks dad!
My good buddy and training partner, Bill Storm, says all the time that “old school is good school.” He’s right. These are a couple of old school messages that some may say are too hard or too over the top for a 15-year-old. I disagree. They have made me the person that I am, and I am grateful for it.
I don’t think we should ever get away from strengthening the work ethic of today’s youth. We all need to increase our responsibility and be held accountable so we can reach our true potential. This mindset instills discipline.
By the way, the root word of “discipline” is “disciple”, which means to teach. So, by instilling this philosophy in our kids, we are teaching them responsibility. We are teaching them the skills, habits, and mindset to be successful adults later in life.
I don’t tell my dad thank you enough for those lessons. He’s almost 72-year-old now and not in the best of health. His words and example were two powerful influences in my life
Work ethic and don’t be foolish with your money. Got it Pops! Thanks!
John McEnroe is known as one of the best tennis players in history. He won 77 singles titles, 78 doubles titles, and 7 major titles (4 US Open and 3 Wimbledon).
He was not only known as an incredible tennis player. He was infamous for his temper tantrums on the court that often landed him in trouble with umpires and tennis authorities.
In 1984 McEnroe was playing a match in Stockholm, Sweden he argued with an umpire over a call then got so angry with the umpire’s call, he grabbed a tennis ball and hit it into the crowd. Still angry with the umpire, he walked off the court and smashed a chair and table with his tennis racquet.
While McEnroe was one of the best players in history, his temper cost him many matches, titles, and money over the years. Not to mention, he made himself look ridiculous on many occasions.
We all get angry from time to time. We can’t control what happens in the world. We can’t control what other people say or do, however we can control how we respond to it.
Surely, in the moment it is hard. Sometimes the best answer is to walk away, take a few deep breaths and regain your composure.
Black Belt Champions are not perfect. They get angry, frustrated, and irritated from time to time. However, they learn to control their emotions so that they don’t ruin relationships with the people they care about.
We have all said things in a moment of anger that we later regretted. The problem is even after an apology, you can’t take those words back. They are out there and most people won’t forget what was said.
Here’s an idea. Learn to turn frustration into fascination. Instead of being angry and frustrated at what someone says or does, learn to become fascinated at their actions and thought process. Become fascinated by their point of view.
You could say to them, “You have a fascinating view of the world!” or “What a fascinating thing to say!”
Does it work every time? No! Nothing works all the time; however, it does work a lot of the time and this little trick can save you from saying and doing things you may later regret.
In ancient times, a King had a boulder placed on a roadway. He then hid himself and watched to see if anyone would move the boulder out of the way. Some of the king’s wealthiest merchants and courtiers came by and simply walked around it.
Many people loudly blamed the King for not keeping the roads clear, but none of them did anything about getting the stone out of the way.
A peasant then came along carrying a load of vegetables. Upon approaching the boulder, the peasant laid down his burden and tried to push the stone out of the road. After much pushing and straining, he finally succeeded.
After the peasant went back to pick up his vegetables, he noticed a purse lying in the road where the boulder had been. The purse contained many gold coins and a note from the King explaining that the gold was for the person who removed the boulder from the roadway.
Moral of the story: Every obstacle we come across in life gives us an opportunity to improve our circumstances, and whilst the lazy complain, the others are creating opportunities through their kind hearts, generosity and willingness to get things done.
As a group of frogs were traveling through the woods, two of them fell into a deep pit. When the other frogs crowded around the pit and saw how deep it was, they told the two frogs that there was no hope left for them.
However, the two frogs decided to ignore what the others were saying and they proceeded to try and jump out of the pit. Despite their efforts, the group of frogs at the top of the pit were still saying that they should just give up. That they would never make it out.
Eventually, one of the frogs took heed to what the others were saying and he gave up, falling to his death. The other frog continued to jump as hard as he could. Again, the crowd of frogs yelled at him to stop the pain and just die.
He jumped even harder and finally made it out. When he got out, the other frogs said, “Did you not hear us?”
The frog explained to them that he was deaf. He thought they were encouraging him the entire time.
Moral of the story: People’s words can have a big effect on other’s lives. Think about what you say before it comes out of your mouth. It might just be the difference between life and death.
As a man was passing the elephants, he suddenly stopped, confused by the fact that these huge creatures were being held by only a small rope tied to their front leg. No chains, no cages. It was obvious that the elephants could, at anytime, break away from their bonds but for some reason, they did not.
He saw a trainer nearby and asked why these animals just stood there and made no attempt to get away. “Well,” trainer said, “when they are very young and much smaller we use the same size rope to tie them and, at that age, it’s enough to hold them.
As they grow up, they are conditioned to believe they cannot break away. They believe the rope can still hold them, so they never try to break free.”
The man was amazed. These animals could at any time break free from their bonds but because they believed they couldn’t, they were stuck right where they were.
Like the elephants, how many of us go through life hanging onto a belief that we cannot do something, simply because we failed at it once before?
We see this a lot in our martial arts training don’t we. Students that struggle with a particular technique or requirements to advance to the next rank start coming up with reasons why they can’t do it or won’t be able to do it instead of trying to find the solution to overcome the obstacle. “I’m too old, I’m not flexible enough, my work schedule makes it impossible, my child has ADHD and so on and so on.”
If everyone would just understand that the obstacles, the struggle and the failures along the way are actually the necessary ingredients to becoming a black belt champion it would be much easier to accept and even embrace them!
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Putting first things first is all about learning to manage ourselves to a higher level. When you put first things first you are working by priorities and not allowing interruptions to knock you off course.
We all struggle with the same dilemma. We are caught between the urgent and the important.
Urgent items are things that need your immediate attention, such as a ringing phone, your phone beeping with notifications, people interrupting you, etc,
Important items have to deal with results. Important items drive you to your values, goals, and overall mission.
Author Peter Drucker says, “Effective people don’t solve problems - they pursue opportunities. They feed opportunities and starve problems.”
It’s not that effective people don’t have urgent things pop up, they just think in advance and act preventatively so they keep that number down.
What can you do to put first things first? Here are a couple ideas:
Begin with the end in mind means knowing what your goal or desired outcome is in advance. Knowing this helps remind you of where you are and what steps you should take next.
I’m sure you know people that are always busy. They frantically run around all day, but at the end of the day, get very little accomplished. Beginning with the end in mind can fix this challenge because you have a clear vision of where you want to end up.
When you take the time to set a goal, and you review that goal daily, you are going to take more actions towards the completion of that goal. If you don't know what the desired outcome is, you probably won't take the same purposeful actions.
Yogi Berra asked this profound question, "If you don't know where you are going, how will you know when you get there?"
This happens when a beginner student goes to the Black Belt Spectacular for the first time. They see what’s possible and others achieving this huge goal. They see the end result and now they know what path they should follow.
That one event will drive the beginner to attend class consistently, even when they don't feel like going. Then the student progresses through the ranks, and eventually achieves their goal.
Are your goals clearly laid out in each area of life?
How frequently do you review your goals so you don't confuse activity with accomplishment?
What actions can you take on a daily or weekly basis to help you achieve those goals?
Being proactive means you are responsible for your own life. You are responsible for the achievement of your own goals, dreams, and aspirations. Proactive people don’t wait around for things to happen. They go out and make things happen!
In other words, don’t wait - create!
A proactive approach to achieving a goal would be listing out everything you need to do in advance, actions you need to take, people you need to talk with, etc. Listing out potential roadblocks that might derail you in advance and thinking of how you will handle them is a great way to stay on track and remain in that proactive mindset.
Most people tend to be highly reactive to things that are out of their control. This can cause stress and enormous amounts of frustration.
If this becomes habit, it can affect sleep patterns, cause health problems, and damage relationships.
Being proactive means we focus on the solution, not the problem. When you focus on the solution to a problem, you become more optimistic, hopeful, and you feel much better.
Joe Torre, Hall of Fame Major League Baseball player and manager accredits a lot of his success to his ability to focus on only what he could control. He never let outside factors affect his attitude or thought patterns.
Proactive people stack the deck in their favor. They surround themselves with positive, encouraging people, and not naysayers. Naysayers can be like crabs in a bucket. None of them ever get out because they keep pulling each other down.
Proactive people do things to keep them feeling positive and optimistic. They exercise regularly, are constantly learning, reading and growing. By doing this consistently, they feel better about themselves and their ability to deal with challenges when they come up.
Proactive people still make mistakes, but when they do they handle the mistake in a proactive way. They acknowledge it, correct it, and learn from it.
Are you proactive or reactive most of the time?
What can you do starting today to become more proactive?
Remember, the biggest room in the world is the room for improvement!
We all know a person in our lives that cannot stop talking about their problems, challenges, injuries, health concerns, relationship troubles, and much more. They come in and immediately put the focus on them and their tale of woe.
Be honest…do you like being around these people? I’m sure some of them are good friends and you want to help them out. You want to be a good person and listen to them, be a shoulder to cry on, and possibly even offer suggestions.
Does that ever help? More than likely, the answer is no! In my experience, this gives them the green light to complain more, sulk more, and put all their troubles on your lap.
What if that person accepted 100% responsibility for the position they are in. What if they accepted they are in a tough spot, whether it was their fault or not, and decided they are going to make the best of it with a great attitude.
Mike Smith was the head coach of the Atlanta Falcons from 2008 to 2014. In his book, “You Win in the Locker Room First”, he talks about installing a NO COMPLAINING POLICY.
Smith says people that complain are energy vampires and will drag a team down. Be careful who you surround yourself with because they may influence your attitude in a bad way and make it difficult for you to achieve your goals.
Nelson Mandela was arrested and put in prison for 27 years. Did you ever hear him complain while serving his sentence or after he got out? The answer is NO! When asked what he was doing while serving out his sentence, he said he was preparing. WOW! What a philosophy!
Perhaps your challenge involves talking to someone to come up with a solution. Great! Have that conversation that focuses on the solution and not bitching about the problem. Trust me, people are much more willing to help a positive person that wants to come up with a solution instead of a person that wants you to hear that worn out, tired country song about everything that is going wrong in your life.
Complaining drains energy. Solutions enhance energy and get people thinking creatively. Focus on the positives and make great things happen!