An Unexpected Benefit

Today I was pushing myself through an exercise in P90X called “Superman Banana.” I was feeling very frustrated by it, and I wanted to lay down and relax until the two minute-long part of the routine was over. Instead, I said to myself, “To hell with that! I’m going to keep doing it until we move on to the next segment of the workout.”

Then suddenly it dawned on me: my experience with wing chun isn’t the only thing in life that is boosting my confidence. P90X is doing the same thing. Think about it: I came across an exercise that was giving me a hard time…I felt like giving up…then I said “no” and pushed myself on anyway and found out I was able to do the entire routine.

I didn’t even realize it until today, but this attitude has been leaking over into my entire life. To this day there are still a lot of situations in my life where I find people trying to bully me or screw things up for me (the latter happening particularly at work). That’s because, for some reason, people think I’m an easy target, a pushover, a victim. However, within the past few months, I’ve been happily proving such idiots wrong. I have started taking a stand against these things.

EXAMPLE #1: (A brief note here: I can’t quite remember all of the altercation I describe below, so just keep in mind I am paraphrasing.) There is someone in my life who is your pretty typical bully. He is the kind of guy who relies on his loud, aggressive voice and body language to intimidate people into silence and/or doing what he demands of them. In the past my reaction to this kind of behavior was to simply ignore the bully, figuring any attention I gave them would only fuel the fire and make them keep going. However, if there is one thing I have learned in life, it’s that bullies will not be stopped by silence. On the contrary, they perceive your lack of standing up to them as a weakness. In other words, you don’t stand up for yourself because you CAN’T. So one time last summer this bully was on a yelling streak because he was in an argument with someone else who is very close to me. (I’m trying to keep names and descriptors out of this so I can tell the story without blatantly announcing who this bully is, so forgive my lack of clarification of who was involved.) The argument got to a point where the bully made a threat of physical violence. Very calmly I turned to him and in a hushed, subdued tone (which was quite a nice contrast to his over-the-top yelling), I said, “Excuse me…you’re not going to lay a hand on anyone today.” I stood my ground, staring right into his eyes…and he TURNED AWAY. I couldn’t believe it. Those words coming out of my mouth…it had never happened before. I felt like I was outside my body watching someone ELSE say it, albeit someone who looked just like me. I left the scene trembling, but not out of fear. It was because my body was gearing up for some kind of physical confrontation because, for all I knew, this might have been one bully who would act instead of just talk. To my surprise (and relief), he was no different than any other loud talker.

EXAMPLE#2: Recently I found out about some bad things being said about me at work. I am not talking about your usual rumor mill stuff, where someone working the same position as me complains to ANOTHER person who works the same position as me. No, this was a deliberate attempt at sabotage because the remarks were made about me in front of a woman (a supervisor, no less) who only JUST came to our agency. In other words she now has a bad first impression of me not from anything I did, but because some other a-hole wanted to divert attention from themselves by making ME look bad. My usual reaction: let it slide…act like you don’t even know anything was said to the new supervisor…just go to work, don’t talk to anyone unless you have to, and do your work so you will prove those statements false. However, I didn’t feel like that was enough this time. I went to personnel with what happened, and they looked into it right away. A few months ago I would have kept quiet, figuring any attempt at bringing this to management’s attention would only make things even worse for me. This time, I didn’t care. I knew it was wrong for that person to bad mouth me, so I reported it. If it comes back on me and my job becomes even more of a living hell than it already is, then I can take comfort in the fact that all it means is the ENTIRE PLACE is screwed up.

These two events have never happened in my life…up until I started doing P90X AND got back into wing chun. I’m not saying P90X alone is responsible for it. All I’m saying is defying the odds and achieving a moderate level of fitness has made me start to believe in myself more. If I can pull off tasks that USED to seem difficult in one area of my life, then maybe I can accomplish things in other areas that once seemed impossible. This is proving to be the case more and more with each passing day.

Can’t wait until tomorrow!!!

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About Steve Grogan

I am 40 years old, divorced, and a father of four kids. I am a practitioner of a self-defense system called wing chun kung fu. My other hobbies include writing, playing guitar, reading, watching movies, and listening to music. Recently I have gotten back into fitness, and this time I am DETERMINED to get the washboard abs...whether my metabolism will cooperate with me or not! The purpose of this blog is to write not only about my hobbies, but also about whatever crosses my mind, whether it is something I don't understand or something that aggravates me. So join me as I indulge my tendency to think too much about topics that don't usually cross anyone else's mind!
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