Breaking Through Barriers

September 06, 2020 |
Image taken by MJ on a hot September day in Pasadena

Recently, I’ve been helping my wife Kiho get better at basketball. After playing in junior high, she continues to enjoy the sport. On a recent trip to Japan, we decided to shoot around in Yoyogi Park. By day's end, Kiho walked away vowing to get better at basketball. 


Her coach in junior high school taught her to shoot with two hands, an issue she identified at Yoyogi Park. Kiho wanted to turn her shot into one that is more consistent and asked me to teach her.  



There are several factors that make good shooting: elbow in, fingers spread, follow-through, and using the non-shooting hand as a guide. That can be a lot for anyone to take in, so I took it one step at a time. Once she was comfortable with her follow-through, we moved on to her elbow consistently creating an L shape. And so we continued to add on one layer at a time. Within three weeks of practicing, I’ve seen her go from missing 80% of her shots to consistently making 60%. 


A few years ago I would have been a far different teacher. It wasn’t until reading Dave Carnegie’s book “How to Win Friends and Influence People” that I learned the approach of being patient and supportive. Before reading, I can recall being very harsh with my nephew while trying to teach him math. Expecting him to understand right away. Changing my mindset towards how I interact with my loved ones has improved my relationship with them. 


Unfortunately, I was not applying the same mindset to myself, failing to be patient and expecting results au plus tôt possible.  


On one of my recent Nike Run Club (android | iOS) guided runs, titled “Breaking Through Barriers,” Nike head coach, Chris Bennett and the founder of Headspace, Andy Puddicombe, have made me conscious of my habit of being hard and impatient with myself. 



“Because we don’t like the reality, we call it a barrier. We think about it, perhaps obsess about it. And then in doing that we reinforce the idea of it being an obstacle, something that’s in our way. But the mind is a journey, our emotions are a journey, running is a journey. And sure we want to have those goals, ambitions, and dreams. But they happen not by us thinking about them, but by us applying a steady and gentle approach moment to moment. The more we can work moment to moment the less we get caught up in ideas of barriers. Of needing to overcome barriers. Instead we’re content to perform our best right now in this moment.” - Andy Puddicombe 


The ability for Americans to get whatever we want in a week or less is truly unprecedented. Additionally, my phone is a gateway to information that would require several lifetimes to look through it all. We are in the age of instant gratification. And with that, is an expectation of getting things done right away. I see it often—speeding on the highway, eating meals fast to get to something else, always in a hurry. I’ve seen these behaviors often because I do them a lot. In the age of “move fast and break things,” I feel that I am falling behind. 


Apply a Steady and Gentle Approach Moment to Moment


On a recent Reddit post, I saw a question asking “Is juggling a 9-5 with side hustle a better route than going cold turkey on business?”


Someone from the “EntrepreNew” podcast answered:


“Yes, absolutely. I actually talked about this in my last podcast. Basically, from my point of view, the first part of starting a business doesnt involve jumping balls deep, working 12 hours a day to get it working. Its slow and consistent, working on your idea or project for 1-2 hours a day for weeks or months.


Once you're beyond that initial point, and really understand where your business is going, and its starting to take more and more effort to keep running, only then you should start considering quitting your main job.”


I’m not alone in wanting to be successful. My version of success is being debt free and able to support myself through the business I start. Many friends have shared their version of success with me and a common theme heard from others and myself is the need to reach success as soon as possible. While this ignites a flame under me to begin, I quickly burn out. Equivalent to starting a marathon sprinting and finding myself gassed by mile 3. 


That move fast behavior is the sexy approach. Working in the wee hours of the night, cooking up that idea that’ll make gold. A great story to tell people. Andy Putticombe and the EntrepreNew podcast both touch on the same thing. Taking one's time by applying a steady and gentle approach moment to moment. Instead of going to bed exhausted, only to wake early the next day too tired to fully contribute to work and project, the alternative approach is to give your project 1-2 hours daily. At least to start. 


Celebrate Milestones


“As humans we tend to be pretty tough on ourselves. And on others too for that matter. 


We set these big goals and big expectations and don’t allow any sort of celebration or appreciation for what we’ve achieved until we reach that final milestone. But if we’re living moment to moment then every moment we’re living with clear intention, is a win. Every moment is something to appreciate. Every moment is a celebration of having moved past, overcome or transcended the so-called barrier…” 


This quote gave me a reminder to celebrate myself more. I won’t be playing DJ Khaled’s “All I Do is Win,” but being proud of taking steps forward is a good way to reinforce my drive. While most of us are quick to give praise to others, we don’t often give praise to ourselves. It’s time we be our own best friend. 


With anything that stands in our way, it is important to focus moment to moment and to celebrate ourselves. Two things I’ve recently found lacking in my life. I’m grateful for choosing “Break Through Barriers” and to Andy Putticombe and Coach Bennett for having such an important conversation. I shared only a little of what they shared. Download the app and give it a try. It exercises both the body and mind. Please let me know what you think.


Thanks for stopping by.