A few years ago I got a boardgame for my son. The game involves moving your counter around a board in search of the objects depicted on the cards dealt to you. But when it came to explaining the rules to my son and a friend of his, I decided to make up some house rules of my own. In fact, I did this because I knew my son’s friend often got very upset, declaring “it’s not fair” any time we played something and things didn’t go his way. So, all the time pretending to be reading from the official text, I explained that we weren’t allowed to proclaim that something wasn’t fair. It was in the rules after all!
As they seemed to gladly go along with that one, I added another. You could, of course, win by being the first to get through all your cards, but you could also win by making up a great story using all the items on your cards, which inevitably produced quite a few draws!
Surprisingly enough, even though they both copped on a few years later that I had been “creative”, we continued to play by the house rules. No-one ever complained during the games and the stories got better and better.
The truth is, no matter what rules you perceive around you, you always have the choice to make up your own rules and play by them. In fact, there’s most likely some area that you’re doing it already. Whether it’s finding a parking space close to your destination, identifying a song sooner than anyone else, having the most fashionable outfit, drinking the most beers at a party, cleaning something a certain way or whatever else; there’s something that you do that you consider to be a ‘personal win’, and you feel good when you do it.
For some, well for quite a few people in fact, proving someone wrong is one of these personal victories. You will recognize these people and, as O-Sensei says “Be grateful even for hardship, setbacks and bad people. Dealing with such obstacles is an essential part of training in the Art of Peace”. So in relation to these occurrences, and on your path to self-mastery, the sort of self-victories that you can grant yourself (especially when you know a difficulty is coming) could be something on the lines of the following:
- Come back to a centered place in less than 10 minutes after getting upset.
- Come back to a centered place in less than 30 seconds after getting upset.
- Keep your voice at an acceptable volume level
- Remind yourself of your intentions three times
- Suspend your point of view for one minute and actively listen
- Discover something you didn’t know about the other
- Discover something you didn’t know about the yourself
- Make the other smile
- Reach an Ai-ki
- Maintain enough Inner Smile to not need anything else
So why not make self-victory something tangible and create your very own Aikidolympics today? Add your own challenges; compete in your own personal biathlon, pentathlon or decathlon; award yourself bronze, silver and gold for succeeding in whichever ‘events’ you choose! Let’s finish with some words from O-Sensei to keep us on track…
Set in motion
The power of the universe
By wielding Aiki:
Create a beautiful world
And foster peacefulness.