The Case for Kindness….

Imeboysn the Immortal words of Patrick Swayze from the classic film Road House (ok maybe classic is a stretch) “Be Nice…Until it’s time Not to be nice.”
Great advice, but it begs the question. When is it time not to be nice? When exactly is enough…enough? When do you have the Green Light not to be nice?
We see people making the decision to “not be nice” daily. Just think about the last time you were in traffic….especially when there is road construction going on, or a slow driver… the left lane. Or maybe in the drive thru when you have to do the dreaded “drive up and wait for your food”, even worse…..when your Netflix is being slow! Did you make the decision not to be nice one of those times?
Of course you did, we all do, and probably….most likely….more often than not… didn’t help at all. It probably didn’t make you feel any better, and it defintly didn’t make anyone else feel great either.
So the answer to when is it time “not to be nice” is……never. There is always a chance to smile, always time to breath and take a second to respond the right way, to push aside all those unhelpful things and to just be nice.
It doesn’t mean you can’t be honest, or genuine. Or that you have to be a door mat for people to walk all over.
It means that even when the answer is no, or when you have to relay bad news, or you are on the receiving end of some good old fashioned “ugliness” you can always be nice.
Kindness is the one commodity that increases the more its used. It is that secret ingredient that makes everything taste better. It is the invisible beauty product that gives your face and your personality just a little more glow. It is the medicine that heals in a way that is hard to see, but easy to feel. It is the gift that makes the giver and the receiver feel like they both got something priceless.
Not Convinced? Then I challenge you to take our 50 Day Kindness Challenge it is a simple program, its free, and if it doesn’t work we will triple refund you (did I mention its free). 
bookNeed More Help? Simply Download our free “50 Days” Book to get ideas and step by step instructions and challenges to reach 50 awesome acts of kindness.
What you will find is the power of simply being nice….to be nice, and you will feel the clam and peace that comes from letting go of all those “not to be nice” moments, and you might even help some one else do the same……

3 Ways to Handle Criticism….

One thing that never seems to be in short supply is criticism. People always have an opinion of things you can do better, if you don’t believe me….just ask them!
In fact learning how to ask for advice, and what to do with that criticism can be one of the most beneficial, and most difficult things we can do to help us grow, develop, and succeed in Martial Arts and in Life.
Here are three quick strategies to help you figure out what advice to keep, what to sweep, and how to keep it all in perspective.
1) Choose the right voices: When accepting advice, always make sure to consider the source. For example if you want advice on how to be a better martial artist, you should probably ask someone who is good at martial arts. Always seek expert advice, it will save you time, effort, and decrease the amount of time it takes you to improve. One tiny piece of advice from an expert is worth more than a book from a novice.
2) Act on good Advice: When someone who know what they are talking about gives you some good advice the worst thing you can do is……Ignore It! Don’t worry if you have, we all have done it at some point or another, and more often than not it is not on purpose. That is why you will here your teachers say some things over and over again, some ideas an concepts take time to soak in, and our understanding of them will deepen and broaden with time. Do it now, understand it later, revisit it after that, and understand it a little better each time we do.
3) “Chew the Meat and Spit Out the Bones” In other words take what is useful and let the rest go. When you get criticism that is anything but constructive, or you get criticism that is just meant to hurt or bring you down…….simply discard it. More often than not the bad things people say about us, have nothing to do about us. In fact the more a person talks about you, the more we tend to learn about them and their perspective on life.
To review: Criticism is a good and necessary part of success, just make sure you find the right voice, you act on it, and you let everything that isn’t useful, or is hurtful or harmful roll right of your back!
-Get up, Get Out, and Get Moving!
Joshua Page, Hickory Academy of Martial Arts

Finding Your Voice: Bullying help for Families

The Following is an excerpt and first draft from my upcoming book project “Out of Harms Way”. It is a meant to be a resource book for families struggling with bullying issues, and is designed to bring hope and empower kids being bullied.

Out of Harms Way Chapter 3 “Finding Your Voice”

“Everyday you wake up with that same hard pit in your stomach. You don’t want to get up, you don’t want to go to school, that meeting, to work….and why?

You are being bullied, and the mere thought of going through it again today is overwhelming. In fact an estimated 160,000 kids skip school each day, because they are being bullied.

This chapter is all about the first steps in changing those feelings, in developing a plan of action to help yourself, finding your allies, and getting that lump out of your gut.

  1. Write it Down: You know there is a problem, you know someone is hurting you mentally, physically, or both. You know you want help, you know you need help, but every time you try and talk about it you are overcome with emotions, how it feels and how you are able to describe it seem so far apart. Your words don’t tell the real story about what is happening to you.

So the first step in speaking up is to take out a sheet of paper and let it all come out. In the middle of the paper write the words “why I hurt”, and draw a circle around it. Now start to draw lines from it with the names of the people who are hurting you. From those names draw more lines and list the ways they hurt you. From those list as many instances as you can, be specific with as much detail as you can, “when, where, how”. If the bullying is still going on keep adding to this list and keep as clear of a record as you can, and keep it clear of the emotions that your are going through, just list out the “raw data”, just the black and white details of what is going on. This sheet will serve as your record and reference you will show later to help end your bullying situation.

Now the second part of writing it down is just for you, take out another sheet of paper, or a composition book and again write “why I hurt” in the middle, circle it and start drawing lines from it. List out what is happening to you, then list out how all those things make you feel, all the thoughts and feelings that it cause, and anything else you want to get out of your head. This paper, this book is just for you, to explore, and deal with the emotions of what is happening. No one else needs to see this book, and no one else needs to, it is your space to express yourself, and really get in touch with how you feel, and what is making you feel this way.

  1. Clearly Identify the Problem

Go back to your “facts sheet” and look over it again, think about everything that is going on and identify exactly what is going on, the “who, what, when, where, and how”. No condense this story into a “30 second commercial” a short and to the point description of what is going on, to clearly define the problem, why someone else needs to step up and help you, and what you think needs to be done. 

Now comes the hard part, take that 30 second description and rehearse it. Get in front of a mirror, or your camera phone, anywhere you can see your face and go over your talk again, and again, you will cry, you will laugh, and you will feel uncomfortable, but keep going until you can go through the talk clearly, and hit all the important points .

It might feel silly, or unnecessary but, as we move into the next step you will be very glad that you went through the process, so when someone asks you “how can I help” or “what can I do”, or “how can we solve this problem” you will have an answer. You will know exactly what you think needs to be done because we have clearly identified the problem and what we think the solution is.

Exercise: In your work book in the back diagram out a bullying problem, real or imaginary and work out the details, all the particulars and make your own “30 second commercial”.

  1. Find the Right Ears

We have identified our problems, we have decided the best way to communicate our problems, we have practiced and rehearsed and know we are ready to make a leap of faith and ask for help, but who do we ask and why? What if they don’t care? What if they don’t help……all of the what if’s are swirling around your head right now, all of the doubt, and even all those things the bully is saying about you are probably bubbling up to the surface. Your self esteem, and self efficacy are at an all time low.

But…..don’t worry, it is normal, very normal. Everyone feels, or has felt that exact same way at some point or another, and getting through this initial resistance is part of getting your problem solved, one giant leap closer to getting past this ugly situation, and back to enjoying your life at school, or work, or whatever space a bullying is stealing from you. It is part of a process that you will build a lifetime of future success upon.

So don’t look at this part with dread, or fear, or doubt, embrace it, get excited, help is on the way!

4) Qualities of the right ears:

Now that we are ready to talk, let’s talk about who we can confide this issue with.

  1. Find someone you trust: pick someone you know that is trustworthy, that you feel safe telling your problem to. Parents, pastors, teachers, coaches, a close friend can be good places to start.
  2. Find Someone who can help: Your dog will listen to your problem, will care, and probably love to help…..but they are not in any position to. Pick someone who is in a position to make a difference with their words or influence. The old phrase “it’s not what you know…it’s who you know” comes to mind with this step. Look for a person of positive influence.
  3. Find Someone who is fair: We are not looking for revenge, someone to bully our bully, so we don’t need to look for a bigger bully, or someone who is only interested in your outcome. We need someone who will work with you, and the bully, who has everyone’s best interest in mind. Look for someone who can help…..everyone.
  4. Find a person of action: So many people talk, and so few walk. Look for a person of action, who will get things done, and won’t stop until the job is done, again we don’t just need someone to lend an ear like our faithful dog will, but someone who will lend a hand. Find a person of action.

Exercise: Make a list of people with the right kind of ears. Some of them might not have all those qualities, or you may be unsure about them, but we will always have doubts, and fears. We have to plan as best as we can and then become persons of action ourselves and speak up to someone we think will help.”

-Joshua Page,