Let’s start this article with one of the most influential stories that gave our world, as we know it today a new standard of freedom and independence. And how broader historical events manifest the significance of effective decision-making and how it should be conducted and applied.
March 1770, Boston, US.
British soldiers are patrolling the streets of Boston. Their presence is disturbing yet threatening citizen’s freedom and liberty. Eventually, citizens attempted to express their anger, frustration, and resentment against the British occupancy. A living revolution, which stems from bold leaders, protests, and riots. Until the commanding British officer gave the order to load the guns and fire. With the first shot fired, the battle was on.
Colonists decided to take that definite action to stop and break this occupancy wheel. Spearhead and spokesman of the protestors and colonists were ‘John Hancock’ and ‘Samuel Adams.’ They declared that all soldiers must leave Boston. These two men’s firm decision was the starting point that initiated the war against Britain, yet ultimately freed the nation and laid its path to this official declaration of independence of the United States of America.
Anyone who would support or sign such a decision was indeed charged by the British crown with high treason and undoubtedly faced the death penalty. Nevertheless, 56 signatures were present on one of the most important documents in history. All of them were confronted with this dilemma of making a courageous, firm, and definite decision with their signature — death through hanging or fighting for independence.
It is visibly clear that unless those men seriously took commitment, courage, and firm decisions into action. History would have had a completely different path. And those people would have never seen any lights of freedom.
While schools and educational systems only focus on these historical memorials, in terms of names, dates, locations, and venues. Schools only provide fixed and raw data. Which on the contrary neglect one crucial dimension lying behind those events. The most important lesson is not taught: Which are, personal characteristics possessed by most historical figures.
Their wisdom, their accurate decision making under pressure, their commitment, and their courage. Can this ‘fixed’ knowledge we’ve learned in school allow us to pass any tests in life other than the ones we constantly have inside classrooms?
Once again, educational systems fail to deliver one of the most important and critical lessons in life: Teaching students to make firm and definite decisions through employing all of their efforts to it.
Indecision is a habit that usually starts from a very young age and takes on gradual permanency as a person goes through grade school, high school, and even college without definiteness of purpose. One vivid evidence can be displayed through the fact that most students get too overwhelmed to choose and decide their professions before enrolling in universities. And yet the majority of them end up unsatisfied with their professions. Can you name someone who admires his/her job?
Particularly because tests taken in school appear to measure something that can never go beyond the limitations of a pen and paper. Those limitations manifest itself when it comes to your behavioral capacity to be firm, confident, and committed with your decisions and actions.
There is a highly influential distinction between both intellectual and behavioral capacities. Thus, both capacities are gained in different ways. In this context, our educational system appears to be insufficient because it focuses on intellectual capacity solely.
This level of uncertainty and indecision students face today does not only appear during their scholastic journey but sticks with them into their occupation. In most cases, a young person will leave school desperately taking any job he/she can find simply because he/she has helplessly fallen into this vicious habit of indecision. This might seem like a subjective statement, but I attempt to claim that 90% of individuals nowadays are employed in their job or position because they lacked the definiteness of decision to plan a clear career path.
This level of definiteness in decision-making always requires confidence and courage to reach. Broader details around confidence is found in the following article: Build the confidence of your child and watch him/her become fearless.
Surprisingly, very few people declare their profession, some do, and some only do after encountering some sort of a death treating experience such as cancer survivors, etc. This awareness of death suddenly takes this blurry vision from our life. Thus, we can now see more clearly and vividly after this instant state of awareness struck us to start searching for purpose in our lives. And ultimately, pursue it.
The notion of death automatically drags this sense of finiteness, finality, and definiteness that makes us finally realize not only our mortality but rather the fact that we truly have just this one chance.
The ability to make firm decisions is a key element to get things done, as you will notice, learning or training how to make firm decisions will inevitably make you build a castle of great achievements which can only be constructed using firm bricks of decisions. It sounds better to make life rather than living as a victim of something called ‘destiny’. Most likely it’s your inability to make firm decisions and your fear to move forward NOT destiny.
Leaders decide firmly and quickly, therefore, leaders get what they want. Life leaves a room only for the man (or woman) who knows what he wants and knows exactly where he’s headed to. The ability to make firm decisions along with commitment are central necessities for ultimate success and happiness.
Where can you learn firm decision-making? How do you train it? How can schools and educational systems implement it? The answer is surprisingly simple, yet known to mankind for hundreds of years - particularly, in Japan where such a system has not only been developed centuries ago but had also proven itself effectively within its society.
Traditional Japanese martial art's infrastructure and training elements, can not only teach great lessons of commitment and determination but more so lessons on making firm decisions. A martial artist is permanently challenged with the need to make firm decisions. An opponent charging full force at you does not leave any room for hesitation, indecision, or even paralysis. The student learns to make firm decisions within a split of a second, therefore, must commit all physical and mental focus on them.
Endless repetitions and diverse applications of this “decision making” practice do not only establish new pathways of thinking in your brain but trigger your body to react remarkably as well. After long-term training, students will be able to overcome decision-making challenges as well as achieving this new state of a fresh yet mature dimension of spirituality. Martial arts students learn to make firm decisions through involving this total presence of their mind, heart, and soul.
Martial Arts are the perfect tool to give students of any age a tool to self-improve, self-develop, and self-cultivate. The ability to make firm decisions is considered one of the most valuable lessons ever taught in martial arts. In this context, schools, educators, lawmakers, but businesses and corporations should take traditional martial arts into action and involve it into the schooling systems and/or leadership training for managers and executives. Martial arts are part of Japan's educational system, and this explains its very dedicated and disciplined workforce but also its extremely low rate of crime, violence, and inevitably health and longevity of its citizens and workforce. Traditional martial arts benefits are priceless, easy and inexpensive to implement.
As you have read through this article, it is likely that you now know what firm decision-making means, and its rigid connection to martial arts. And finally, why educators and lawmakers should take it into action and involve it in their schooling systems.
This article was written by Sensei Marcus Hinschberger, a 5th-degree black belt, head instructor at Tokon Martial Arts, and inventor of the Touitou Training.
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