Three productivity lessons from a black belt

Photo by my wife.

I’ve been practicing a martial art known as Shorinji Kempo since 2012. Shorinji Kempo puts an unusually heavy emphasis on philosophy, even for a Japanese martial art. At every grading, you have to turn in an essay on a given topic, as part of the exam. This goes even for children, from the age of ten.

The philosophy we are taught in Shorinji Kempo is applicable in every day life. I have used it myself, and so have my children (some of them also practice with me). In this article, I will give some examples.

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Meditation for sceptics

A lot of people think that meditation isn’t for them, because they’ve heard it being described as some sort of spiritual or semi-religious practice. But I would say such a description is misleading; meditation, in its most basic form, is a method for improving your concentration. There is nothing mysterious about it. You practice concentrating, and as a result, you get better at it. As a byproduct, it might also help you calm down and relax. Sounds good? Yeah, I think so too – read on.

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How to get started when you don’t want to

Photo of 80's era Lego knights fighting on the wall of a yellow castle.
No Lego knights were injured during the writing of this article. It’s not like they wouldn’t have deserved it, though, especially the guy on the left – he’s a total douchebag.

Procrastination – we’ve all been there. There’s that one (or many!) intimidating task you really should do, but you really don’t want to. So here are some techniques that have helped me overcome this problem in the past.

  • Plan how to solve it
  • Divide and Conquer
  • Work on it for five minutes

I will go into detail about each of them below.

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