During April, I’m writing 26 posts for the A to Z Blog Challenge. I’m combining my skills as a writer, a life coach, and a martial artist (2nd degree black belt in ITF Taekwondo) to create a series of posts about applying aspects of TKD to life outside of martial arts. Whenever possible, I’ll include a little Taekwondoodle to illustrate what I’m talking about.
Let’s begin the way a TKD class begins, with Attention!
Before Taekwondo class, the students will be moving around the dojang. Some will be practicing patterns, others will be doing drills, kicks, or punches, others will be chatting or stretching. There is a sort of chaotic energy to the place, the kind you have right before anything really starts.
When the instructor is ready, they shout “Charyot!” (Attention!)
Every student in the room pivots to face them, getting into a specific ‘attention stance’ to demonstrate that they are, indeed, paying attention. Attention stance means that the student stands up straight, with their heels together and toes apart (making a V with their feet), upper arms close to their bodies, forearms and fists pointing out to the side. They are awaiting the next command.
It’s reassuring to have a clear way to get started. The instructor takes charge of the room with that single word, there is no sort of wheedling, whining, “Hey, guys! Pay attention! Over here! Come on now!” It’s just the imperative “Attention!”
What would it be like if you had that sort of clear line in other areas of your life? I don’t mean for bossing other people around (although that has its appeal), I mean for bringing your focus to the task at hand.
Could you have a signal to yourself to switch from scrolling though Facebook to reading that book you can’t seem to get to?
Would it be possible for you to command yourself to stop dwelling on that one issue for an hour or so and focus on something else instead?*
I find it useful to use the timer on my phone as my “Attention!” command.**
I set a timer for whenever I have to get started on something or when I have to switch tasks.*** When it goes off, I immediately switch my attention. It helps me make a clear line between different activities.
What kinds of things require your attention? How do you direct your focus? Could you create an unquestionable ‘Attention’ command for yourself?
*It seems a bit silly but sometimes you can get your brain to give you a break if you promise that it is for a limited time.
**I even label my timer with the thing that needs my attention. I change the default label to “Work Now!” or “Make List!”
***I just realized how hilarious and terrific it would be to have recordings of each of my instructors saying “Charyot!” to use as timer tones.