There is much we miss out on being raised in a culture of the west, one that is driven by external validation, goals that are SMART and metric and lifeless.
I have spent nearly half my life living in the East, and absorbing the different take on goal setting was something that made a profound impact on me. Studying martial arts in Japan, I learned how immersion in the process rather than the outcome was the secret to a type of success and performance that is sustainable and authentic.
That is what Mr. Miyagi was teaching Daniel-san. Read below to learn how I dealt with a potentially traumatic experience, and how I was able to grow through the experience.
Have you ever been stuck in neck deep powder snow?
It’s exhausting. Moving just one meter requires a lot of effort. Last year on a Flowstate Adventure I was separated from the group in blizzard conditions and was lost in a forest.
I was only a few hundred meters from safety, on the edge of a major ski resort in Japan, but with the snow so deep each meter felt like a mile. I remember taking a moment to reflect on an epic day of snowboarding in fantasy conditions, deep powder and good friends. The best of combinations. I even took a selfie! At the time I thought I would be out in 20 minutes, so was preparing for a little burst of effort.
But the seriousness of the situation rapidly dawned on me. I had spent an hour crawling to higher ground expecting to see ski tracks or familiar features that would guide me to safety. But my heart sank when all I saw was snow, trees, undulating flat ground, and no sign of anything familiar. I was lost. I was alone. I was almost unable to move and I had about 2 hours until nightfall and plummeting temperatures.
My appreciation of the beauty of the forest was rudely interrupted by nausea so strong I nearly puked, prayed and cried at the same time.
This story is about an experience that really shook me up, but allowed me to learn valuable lessons about my mind and put into practice a Zen goal-setting technique I have learned to find flow and performance (and even joy) in high-pressure situations. Enjoy the episode!