Jack London’s credo was:
I would rather be ashes than dust!
I would rather that my spark should burn out
in a brilliant blaze than it should be stifled by dry-rot.
I would rather be a superb meteor, every atom
of me in magnificent glow, than a sleepy and permanent planet.
The function of man is to live, not to exist.
I shall not waste my days trying to prolong them.
I shall use my time.
This is a great quote. However, it doesn’t work too well for tai chi. In tai chi we want to be a sleepy and permanent planet. Many students have come into tai chi expecting to be the master in six months or less. Hey, there are some martial arts schools that promise that, why not tai chi? Well, I call that, “taking the Bruce Lee pill”. People start and they want to know how they can change every aspect of their lives to improve to learn and to experience this mysterious art. They want to change their clothes, change their diet, change their gods, these are the “meteors” of the tai chi world. I do my best with some success in slowing them down. I tell them what they need to do is to go to a local nursery and buy a little tree. Then I tell them to put that tree where they’re going to be doing most of the training. They are still very excited at this point. Then I tell them their tai chi will grow as fast as that tree. This is when I usually get some resistance. Tai chi develops over a period of years. You can’t rush it. If you try speed up the growth of that tree by pulling on it you will only uproot it and it will die. That’s the same as our tai chi evolution. It is a journey. I was once asked by my first mentor, you’ve heard the expression “the ends justifies the means, and the means justifies the ends”. He continued, “but I urge you to live by this phrase, the means is the end”. This idea that each day we practice is our goal. What comes tomorrow is based on today. So, let’s focus on the now. Put 100% of yourself into your project right now. I challenge you to be a uni-tasker. Multitasking is not what it’s cracked up to be.