“Come on, you can do it! Break the board! Break the board!!“
My best friend Jeff Bagby was coaching me on martial arts in the basement of his house in Kokomo, Indiana. It was the early 70’s and Kung Fu was at its popularity peak, fueled by primetime TV shows, movies and comic books. I was looking for a little self-defense insurance.
I lined up my arm and gently touched the piece of scrap wood with the base of my palm.
Jeff held it firmly between his outstretched and locked arms. “Come on, break the board!”
I stared at the wooden surface as I rotated my torso and retracted my arm. I screamed out “Hie-yahhhh!!” as I punched forward as fast as I could.
I screamed out “Yee-oucchh!!!” as my hand bounced off the board, sending a shockwave of pain up through my shoulder.
“OK… OK. Here’s what you’re doing wrong.” Jeff patiently explained.
“You are focusing too much on the surface of the board. You have to focus on a spot 12 inches on the other side and punch THROUGH the board, not AT it.”
He held it out once again, and I visualized punching through all the way to his stomach (which would be a nice payback after the pain he just put me through.) I took a deep breath, pulled back, let loose and CRACK!! The board split as I almost fell forward into coach Jeff. My disbelief turned into a satisfying smile. Nobody was going to mess with ME on the school bus!
Funny how these little defining moments stick with us. Sometimes when I’m having trouble breaking through an obstacle in my life now, I try to visualize what it will be like after I succeed. I picture what it will look like on the other side of that board. Then I stop punching AT the problem and punch through it instead. After all, seeing is believing. And if I am not able to really SEE my success in advance, I don’t really BELIEVE it in advance.
Are you having trouble getting through an obstacle in your life? Maybe try adjusting your vision beyond the short-term and focus on where you will be after you succeed. Trust me… it makes it a lot easier to break through.