“Knowing is not enough, we must apply.
Willing is not enough, we must do.”
I would like to share this article ‘Struggle for Smarts’ written by Alix Spiegel with you all. The content of this article relates well to how we learn Tai Chi and Qigong.
The main focus is that in the modern Western world, we tend to see struggle in the learning process as a sign of weakness or lesser intelligence. When learning doesn’t come to the student effortlessly or as Alix states “naturally”, the first hurdle can be a place where they give up. The student may feel inadequate, unintelligent, a failure and so on. The student has a negative emotional response based on Western cultural behaviour. To avoid further failure or disappointment, the student gives up as the threat of more negative emotions are too much.
Whereas in the East, struggle is seen as an opportunity, something to be expected in the learning process and something that is a sign of being willing to apply effort, having a strong character, determination and persistence. In this way, struggle has a positive emotional response based on Eastern cultural behaviour. If the student sees struggle as a sign of strength, they are more likely to continue and complete the learning process.
Thinking further onwards, if there isn’t struggle in the learning process, when things in life come easy, where is the desire to start or even continue? Where is the reward for no effort made?
Tai Chi and Qigong
So let’s relate this to our training and practice. With the knowledge that Tai Chi is a complex practice that takes years to learn, explore and progress. With the understanding that success only comes from the desire and ability to apply effort to your training. With knowing that skill in Tai Chi and Qigong does not come to us as a gift, how can you make struggle productive? See struggle as the gift.
We should all celebrate the amount of effort needed within the Tai Chi and Qigong learning process. The key to progression is productive persistence and deliberate practice of accurate movements, mind intention and breath. When we persevere through our struggles, doubts, inexperience, misunderstandings and mistakes with a relaxed and happy mind, body and spirit, that’s what makes a true lifelong student where every day is an achievement and success.
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