Mind set is the hardest point to teach some individuals. It’s something that must be used during practice or training sessions. You can’t expect it to be there when you need it if you never make it a part of your training.
It’s something I’ve seen other places as well. Take martial arts. You can tell the ones that are there for an exercise program and the ones there to learn to really defend themselves. You’ll be practicing something with a person with a smile on their face and going through the motions. Switch to a new partner and even though you know they aren’t going to intentionally harm you in class but they are serious and focused and when they throw something for you to block you think they’re out to take your head off. That’s the spirit you want to have when practicing ‘gun-fu’ as well.
During a course you typically don’t shoot life like targets. It’s pretty plain that they are paper but you have to go at it as if they were someone trying to harm you. That being said I like the way Mr. Farnam explains this subject in the terms of winners and losers.
13 Aug 09
Winners and Losers:
I have a copy of a painting, commissioned years ago by Las Vegas tycoon Steve Wynn, called “Winners and Losers.” It depicts a smokey old gambling hall filled with poker players. Some are obviously fearful and frustrated. Others are cheerful and confident. It is a masterpiece!
In our line of work, we could probably teach chimpanzees how to operate a pistol, or play poker for that matter, but they still wouldn’t have a clue with regard to how either activity properly fits into their lives.
Among our human students, we typically have “nice” people who are personally honest and generally successful in our civilization, but many still display what we call “loser-traits” which will predictably sabotage an otherwise sincere effort to master our Art.
Winners are unafraid! They spend their time finding a way to win, rather than looking for an excuse to lose. Winners fear neither victory nor failure.
Losers are deathly afraid of both!
Yes, losers are afraid! Fear ever haunts the base of their being and prevents them from ever walking upright, confidently, proudly.
Losers mumble! They don’t speak clearly, nor with conviction. They can’t even seem to speak in complete sentences, because their thought processes are confused and perverse. They are afraid of truth, afraid of reality in all forms. They doubt their ability to handle life, so they hide their faces from the light of day.
Losers are bitter and resentful! They are angry with everyone. They can’t handle correction. They savagely defend their every mistake, every blunder, every crime like a lioness her young! Their elaborate rationalizations are sadly comical.
Losers are afraid of growing up! They prefer to be “taken care of.” Accepting full, personal responsibility for anything is unthinkable.
Losers snivel, whine, and make excuses! They take personal responsibility for nothing, always blaming others and “bad luck” for every gloomy hand they’re dealt.
Losers surround themselves with enablers and coddlers who never challenge them! Losers associate only with other losers!
Losers are chronically unproductive! They run their mouths continuously, but habitually shun productive work.
Losers know right from wrong, but conduct their lives as if they didn’t! They’re into “situation ethics,” offering up endless excuses for lying and other misdeeds.
Most of all, losers are ashamed, and should be! They cheerlessly watch themselves missing out on all the best life has to offer, but personal vanity and cowardice ever prevent them from sincerely repenting, and then boldly claiming their own magnificence.
As Instructors, these loser traits, some of which, to some degree, are displayed by nearly everyone, are our constant adversary.
Again, merely teaching a set of mechanical skills is just the beginning, and indeed, almost a side-show!