Daily Archives: July 22, 2013

Mistakes: in Jiu Jitsu and Life in General

Apparently Val Worthington and I have been on the same page the past few days, losing perspective and getting mentally “stuck” over our mistakes.

We are human, and one of the fundamental characteristics of being a member of the species is our tendency to make mistakes: to fall, to mess things up, to do something that we internally facepalm ourselves over.


I know that I am hard on myself, in jiu jitsu and other life situations; and that what I consider to be a complete and total failure really isn’t that terrible and this is mostly just self inflicted pressure.  While it becomes a great motivator for training and drilling, it’s also a double-edged sword and leads to moments of self doubt and a bit of internal turmoil.

So how do you cope with these sorts of emotions? Hide under your bed and never make a mistake again? Move to some undisclosed micronation and pray no one asks you to do anything, ever?


Interesting solutions, but not very productive ones. We make mistakes for a variety of reasons, but it’s what we do with those mistakes that matters. Sure, I mess up in training- I turn left when I should have turned right, I attempt one sweep when I should have gone for another, really the list goes on and on. But, instead of just obsessing over what we could have done, instead we should remind ourselves that yes we’ve made those mistakes, but at least we tried, and there is an opportunity to improve, to become better and make less of those particular mistakes. That’s also something as a species we are (thankfully) quite good at; learning from those mess-ups and advancing in our skill and knowledge.

It’s a hard road- one filled with a veritable plethora of obstacles and pitfalls, but hey, that’s being human, and becoming a better person. We all just need to stop once in a while, take a deep breath and realize this is all a part of a much larger picture. Yes, we make mistakes, but these mess-ups are also opportunities to improve and make more advanced mistakes down the road, if that makes any sense.

So, the moral of the story is, I guess, that you have plenty of more mistakes coming your way: accept it, own it, don’t just sweep them under the rug, and do your best not to dwell on those regretful moments. Remind yourself that at least you are putting yourself in those vulnerable positions, and gives you the chance to become better.


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