Be strong in the hard moments!

  • By Martin ACTON
  • 05 Aug, 2017
What exactly are the hard moments? These are the conflicts between doing the right thing and doing the easier thing. They are the key tests, the defining moments of life and how we handle them can literally shape our lives forevers. Hard moments come in two sizes, small and large.
Small hard moments occur daily and include things like getting up when the alarm rings, controlling your temper or disciplining yourself to do your homework. If you can conquer yourself and be strong in these moments your days will run so much more smoothly. For example. if I am weak in a hard moment and sleep in (mattress over mind) it often snowballs and becomes the first of many little failures throughout the day. But if I get up when planned, (mind over mattress) it often becomes the first of many little successes.

In contrast to small hard moments, larger ones occur every so often in life and include things like choosing good friends, dealing with negative peer pressure, and rebounding after a major setback: You may get cut from a team or dumped by your lover, your parents may get divorced, or you may have a death in the family. These moments have huge consequences and often strike when you’re least expecting them. If you recognize that these moments will come (and they will), then you can prepare for them and meet them head on like a warrior and come out victorious.
Be courageous at these key junctions! Don’t sacrifice your future happiness for a night of pleasure, a weekend of excitement, or a thrilling moment of revenge. If you are ever thinking about doing something really stupid, remember these lines from Shakespeare:

What win I, if I gain the thing I seek?
A dream, a breath, a froth of fleeting joy.
Who buys a minute’s mirth to wail a week?
Or sells eternity to get a toy?
For one sweet grape who will the vine destroy?

These lines are about sacrificing your future for a brief moment of joy. Who would want to give up the rest of his / her life for a week’s worth of pain? Or who would destroy an entire vine for just one grape? Only a stupid person would.
Some of the hardest moments come when facing peer pressure. Saying "No," when all your friends are saying "Yes." takes raw courage. However, standing up to peer pressure, what I call “won’t pressure,” is a massive deposit into your Character Bank Account.

A freshman girl at high school came running into my office in Yokohama one day just before class. She had tears streaming down her face. “Martin Sensei, they hate me! They hate me!” she sobbed. I asked her to sit down and I waited quietly until she finished crying.
She had been dumped by her group of " friends " who told her to get lost because she was “no good” because, the day before they wanted her to ditch school and to spend the day window shopping in Shinjuku and Shibuya (places in Tokyo young people like to meet, shop and hang out).
She had wanted to at first, but then she thought about her mom and how much it would hurt her mom when the school called and told her that her daughter was not in school. The girl felt she just couldn't do that to her mom because she had made so many sacrifices for her daughter and the girl just could not let her mom down!
She stood up to her friends and said
"No, I can’t do it." Everyone just blew her off. The girl thought everything would be ok the next day, but it wasn’t. They told her to find new friends because she was too good for them.
Through the tears and the pain, she began to see that she felt good inside, but lonely, as her friends didn’t accept her. However, she accepted herself and gained self-respect and inner peace despite outside rejection. A life lesson learned and a moment of standing up for herself. When the mother heard what her daughter had experienced, she was moved to tears, full of pride at how strong, mature and kind her daughter was. The bond between them got even stronger. The friends that ditched school were called into the Principal's office, reprimanded and given detention after school for a week. Sumiko the freshmen girl focused on her studies and very soon she made new friends and eventually graduated high school top of her class with Honors. She wrote a short poem that I would like to share with you.
Any day of the week,
I would choose to be “out” with others
and in touch with myself …
than to be “in” with others and out of touch with myself.
Until next time I wish you peace, love and success. Martin Acton sensei

Martin Acton's Aikido Institute

By Martin ACTON 15 Aug, 2017
Some people say that it is good to enjoy the moment and to be grateful for what we have. They say that to be constantly striving for more is like trying to fill a black hole, it is unhealthy and the main cause for peoples disgruntlement.

Other people declare that because we are human beings we are created to push beyond our limits and expand our comfort zones every day, by reaching for bigger and better things that will ultimately result in us becoming great. Which do you agree with?

I have given this some thought and I have come to the conclusion that both are right. How can this be, you may ask? Well for me, to be happy peaceful and successful requires a balance between these two paths.

Recently I went to the Glens in Northern Ireland, with two friends and we hiked for a few hours in the forest. As we got to the top of a high hill, we found that there were more hills to hike. I stopped to take a rest for a couple of minutes and to appreciate the beautiful scenery of the mountains and the ocean below. I also looked back at the distance we had come. It became clear to me that a short rest was adequate because the long hike was not yet finished. The lesson I got today from this experience was that it is important to enjoy the view from where you are at the moment. Relish how far you have travelled. Be grateful for where your journey in life has led you so far. Live in the now. But realize that with the gifts that you have received comes great responsibilities.

Each one of us has the obligation to excel. We should not rest on past glory days, wins and success, that will result in us becoming self-complacent. We should stand up face the world head on, every day, and give the best service to others that we are capable of giving. Actualize more of our potential and strive every day to become a more mature, loving and considerate citizen on this earth. We have to face the fears that come to us and go into them to make more of our lives. Play on a bigger scale. Use our creative talents to be, do and see more. This drive to substantiate our greatest selves has been woven into our DNA and to deny this is to negate our human nature.

As we push and expand our comfort zones, set higher dreams and raise our personal and professional standards, we will create a certain level of discomfort. This is how our world has evolved from the Stone Age days. It was built by people who felt the discomfort with the way things were and knew they could do better. Think about Martin Luther King, Gandi, Mother Teresa, Einstein. Love what you have, and go for what you want. Enjoy the journey up the mountain. Finally, keep your eyes on the mountain peak. Until next time I wish you peace, love and success. Martin Acton sensei
By Martin ACTON 07 Aug, 2017
Being reasonable, sensible and practical are not bad qualities to have but on one level they can stop you from seizing fantastic opportunities when they come your way. I want to encourage people to push the envelope to the maximum regarding what is possible for you. Any fool can be a critic that laughs at visions of bold thinkers. My suggestion is to stay away from these people. Realize that every remarkable, breakthrough that has brought civilization to the high standard we live in today was achieved because of the heroic labour of those individuals that were told their ideas were unrealistic, impractical and unachievable. We need more visionaries in the world today. Unreasonable people who will fight the peer pressure to be normal, average and like everyone else. Individuals who will withstand the pressures, temptations and seductions of self-satisfaction, contentment and going along with the herd mentality. You can be a world-class, go-giver and visionary all you have to do is dream your dreams and follow the steps to bring those wonderful images, sounds and feelings into reality. Don’t let your hunger for comfort kill the passion in your soul!

When I was a teenager I lived in a very negative environment. I loved the USA and always dreamed of going there. When I shared this idea with my family, friends and associates they all told me not to be such a fool, a sap, a day dreamer, that I would never get there. This made me more determined to achieve my dream. So the day after I finished my “O” levels. I bought a boat ticket to England, left my home, family and friends and set out to find a way to America. I got a job washing dishes in a restaurant, worked hard saved my money and by the time I was 23 I was in the USA and on my way to becoming the man I am today. The lesson this taught me was when people say “You can’t…..” My response is “Watch me!”

When I was teaching Aikido in Japan, a Canadian came to my dojo. He had a pony tail and was well over 6 feet tall. He looked scruffy and somewhat dirty. But he had a sparkle in his eyes that really caught my attention. He said “I have come all the way from Canada to learn Aikido and I want YOU to teach me! How much will it cost? When can I start?”
Normally I would explain to people that this is not a very good way to try to enter a Japanese dojo. You will more than likely be told that the classes are full, that we have nothing to teach you, and you will be asked politely to leave. However, as I said I saw the sparkle in his eyes so I decided to have a conversation with him to find out more about his situation. He was a high school drop out, had no qualifications at all. Spent his life in Canada drifting from one town to another just scraping by. He married a Japanese home stay student and had come to live in Japan. His wife and her family were very worried because they had no idea how he would find work and support the family. After hearing about his situation I decided to help him. I agreed to be his teacher, introduced him to an elementary school for children aged 5 – 11, there he taught English. We got him an apartment to rent and he worked really hard. He is still living, working and doing Aikido in Japan. He achieved his Black Belt, he and his wife have a beautiful daughter and the family is very happy. When you have a dream, hold onto it and don’t let anyone stop you from realizing it. Until next time I wish you peace, love and success. Martin Sensei
By Martin ACTON 05 Aug, 2017
What exactly are the hard moments? These are the conflicts between doing the right thing and doing the easier thing. They are the key tests, the defining moments of life and how we handle them can literally shape our lives forevers. Hard moments come in two sizes, small and large.
Small hard moments occur daily and include things like getting up when the alarm rings, controlling your temper or disciplining yourself to do your homework. If you can conquer yourself and be strong in these moments your days will run so much more smoothly. For example. if I am weak in a hard moment and sleep in (mattress over mind) it often snowballs and becomes the first of many little failures throughout the day. But if I get up when planned, (mind over mattress) it often becomes the first of many little successes.

In contrast to small hard moments, larger ones occur every so often in life and include things like choosing good friends, dealing with negative peer pressure, and rebounding after a major setback: You may get cut from a team or dumped by your lover, your parents may get divorced, or you may have a death in the family. These moments have huge consequences and often strike when you’re least expecting them. If you recognize that these moments will come (and they will), then you can prepare for them and meet them head on like a warrior and come out victorious.
Be courageous at these key junctions! Don’t sacrifice your future happiness for a night of pleasure, a weekend of excitement, or a thrilling moment of revenge. If you are ever thinking about doing something really stupid, remember these lines from Shakespeare:

What win I, if I gain the thing I seek?
A dream, a breath, a froth of fleeting joy.
Who buys a minute’s mirth to wail a week?
Or sells eternity to get a toy?
For one sweet grape who will the vine destroy?

These lines are about sacrificing your future for a brief moment of joy. Who would want to give up the rest of his / her life for a week’s worth of pain? Or who would destroy an entire vine for just one grape? Only a stupid person would.
Some of the hardest moments come when facing peer pressure. Saying "No," when all your friends are saying "Yes." takes raw courage. However, standing up to peer pressure, what I call “won’t pressure,” is a massive deposit into your Character Bank Account.

A freshman girl at high school came running into my office in Yokohama one day just before class. She had tears streaming down her face. “Martin Sensei, they hate me! They hate me!” she sobbed. I asked her to sit down and I waited quietly until she finished crying.
She had been dumped by her group of " friends " who told her to get lost because she was “no good” because, the day before they wanted her to ditch school and to spend the day window shopping in Shinjuku and Shibuya (places in Tokyo young people like to meet, shop and hang out).
She had wanted to at first, but then she thought about her mom and how much it would hurt her mom when the school called and told her that her daughter was not in school. The girl felt she just couldn't do that to her mom because she had made so many sacrifices for her daughter and the girl just could not let her mom down!
She stood up to her friends and said
"No, I can’t do it." Everyone just blew her off. The girl thought everything would be ok the next day, but it wasn’t. They told her to find new friends because she was too good for them.
Through the tears and the pain, she began to see that she felt good inside, but lonely, as her friends didn’t accept her. However, she accepted herself and gained self-respect and inner peace despite outside rejection. A life lesson learned and a moment of standing up for herself. When the mother heard what her daughter had experienced, she was moved to tears, full of pride at how strong, mature and kind her daughter was. The bond between them got even stronger. The friends that ditched school were called into the Principal's office, reprimanded and given detention after school for a week. Sumiko the freshmen girl focused on her studies and very soon she made new friends and eventually graduated high school top of her class with Honors. She wrote a short poem that I would like to share with you.
Any day of the week,
I would choose to be “out” with others
and in touch with myself …
than to be “in” with others and out of touch with myself.
Until next time I wish you peace, love and success. Martin Acton sensei
By Martin ACTON 27 Jul, 2017
What is your first reaction to conflict? Run! Avoid it. Let someone else deal with it. Right?
99% of people would give one of the above answers. Why? Conflict makes us feel bad. We hope the situation will resolve itself. However, it never does. It just festers like an untreated wound.
I don’t go looking for conflicts but when they arise I look at the situation as nothing more than an opportunity to grow and to develop a deeper personal relationship.All conflict has within it the chance for you to learn a really powerful lesson and to grow as a person in your perspective and awareness. Every conflict, regardless if it is involving a customer or loved one, or a total stranger is a fantastic opportunity to forge an even closer bond with them. You have the power to change their dissatisfaction into a WOW! for you both.
Don’t run from conflict. Real leaders balance compassion with courage, even though it may feel frightening at first, in reality, it is a gift. Appreciate it. Savor the potential it carries. Welcome it. Conflict can serve you extremely well.
One day I was at my Aikido dojo in Yokohama and this man entered and said he was here to see if I was as good at Aikido as what he heard I was. He wanted to fight me. If I lost I was to close my dojo and leave Japan because he would tell everyone I was a fake. If I won he would become my member. This seemed very extreme. So I asked the man if we could talk about it first. He got louder and said, “It is time to shut up and show how good you are!”
I was calm and spoke quietly to him. I asked if he could return later that afternoon and I would fight him then, but now I could not because I was expecting a very important guest and he was due to arrive any moment now. The man was really angry now and he put his face very close to mine and hissed at me. “If this is a trick to try and escape from me. You will pay heavily. I will beat you to one inch of your life.” I assured him it was no trick and if he wanted a piece of me so badly what difference would a few hours make? He would still be able to carry out his threats. He agreed and left. I met my guest we conducted our business and then we had lunch. After lunch, I got ready to deal with this man who was coming back to fight me. I meditated for 30 minutes, got changed into my uniform and went to do paperwork in my office. He came back and shouted, “Are you here?” I stood up and went to greet him. I invited him in and asked if he wanted to fight in the clothes he was wearing or if he wanted to change clothes? He said he did not need to change clothes he would wipe the floor with me in a minute. I asked him to remove his shoes before stepping onto the mat and this upset him even more. He took off his shoes and threw them at me. Suddenly he lunged at me and tried a high round house kick to my head. I ducked and my elbow caught him on the inside of his thigh. he fell and shouted in pain. I tried to help him up, but he swore at me and told me to get my hands off him. He got up and came at me again. This time it was a special Karate kick that comes straight down very fast like a hammer. I avoided it by a fraction of a second and punched him in the solar plexus strongly. He went down again and the wind was knocked out of him. Again I tried to help him up but he still had fight left in him. So again he came at me. I blended with his attack and threw him with a painful wrist lock. As he landed, I heard a loud click as the wrist snapped. The man cried out in pain “Enough! You win! I need a doctor to fix this!” He was helped outside and I returned to my daily chores. Who this man was, I had no idea. What he had gained from this experience I could not begin to comprehend. I decided to put it out of my mind. A few weeks later the same man came back with a very different attitude. I did not recognize him. He introduced himself and apologized for his very bad behaviour. He was back to keep his word to become my member. I thanked him for being a conscientious man of his word, but that I could not teach him anything. He became agitated again and insisted that I must be his teacher. I refused again and explained that his nature was better suited to other more aggressive martial arts or western boxing, but that Aikido is not about fighting. He thanked me for my time and said he was determined to become my student and was willing to do whatever it took to accomplish that. He came back every day for six months begging me to teach him. Eventually, I gave in and accepted him as my student. This man is the most loyal, faithful and generous person I have ever met. He is now teaching Aikido in Japan and is one of the best teachers in the world.
If I had refused to fight him he would have really gone out of his way to damage my reputation and my dojo. So to conclude life presents us with many different experiences. Some good, bad and really ugly. Accept them all they are going to teach you a valuable life lesson. I hope this makes sense to you. Until next time I wish you peace, love and success. Martin Sensei
By Martin ACTON 21 Jul, 2017
You’ve probably heard “communication is key” before. And it’s true. Effective communication is absolutely essential to every relationship in your life, whether it’s in business, at work, or in your family. Today I want to focus on just one of these areas: Communication in the workplace.
If you work with other people, there’s a good chance you have experienced both good and bad communication. The benefits of great communication are endless. Good, clear, and honouring communication allows you to get more done in less time and it helps to cultivate a culture of respect.
On the other hand, a lack of communication (or poor communication) leads to stress, frustration, misunderstandings, dishonour, and it impacts the company’s bottom line.

An easy way to understand complicated people:
People can be complicated and hard to understand. Whether it’s your spouse, co-workers, clients, or children, confusion and miscommunications happen from time to time. The good news is there is an easy way to eradicate those communication breakdowns and create harmony instead. I want to point out a few different aspects of communication that are often forgotten or could use some improvement. As you read today, I don’t want you to think, “Oh, I never have that problem,” or “I’m a great communicator!” You may be a great communicator. But there is always room for improvement. As your communication skills increase, so will your income. So I want you to look for ways you can improve your communication today.

The tone of voice. You’ve heard, “It’s not what you say, it’s how you say it.” Your tone of voice communicates either honour or disrespect. It communicates confidence or fear. Sometimes we don’t even realise the way we speak to others. So today, really pay attention to how you speak and how you respond to others. Are you honouring your superiors? Are you honouring those who are ‘below you’ in the company?

Nonverbal communication. 93% of communication is nonverbal. If you are sitting back, not smiling, with your arms crossed, your body language says, “I’m not interested in what you have to say. I don’t want to be here. I don’t want to listen to you.” If you are smiling, sitting forward, and getting involved in the conversation, it promotes good communication. The other person is more receptive, and it really pulls you into the conversation.

Clarify! Don’t assume you understand exactly what someone means. The phrase, “So what I hear you saying is…” will help you make sure you understand what the other person is saying. It causes you to listen carefully, and because you are recapping the conversation. If you don’t understand something, simply say, “Can you clarify that for me?” or “What do you mean by that?”

Follow up. Always follow up! Follow up is a key part of communication that, unfortunately, many people never do. But it’s as simple as sending an email to follow a conversation. This includes giving updates on your progress on projects or assignments you’re working on. When you follow up with your boss, managers, and co-workers, it keeps everyone in the loop and keeps them updated on the progress and it eliminates the need for them to track you down to find out where you are or what you’re doing. When the lines of communication are open within a team, productivity soars and it becomes a harmonious work environment.

Here’s the thing, Communication is one of the most important skills you use every single day. When you have poor communication skills, your success is severely limited. However, when you focus on constantly improving your communication skills, your success will continue to grow.
So today, I want you to find where you can improve your skills. If today’s letter highlighted any areas you feel could use some work, then don’t wait. You can start working on those things immediately. Remember, what you focus on, you get good at. Wherever there is an intensifying focus, you get more results. So if you see that your communication skills are lacking, really focus on improving them, and you will see results!
That’s it for me today. I hope this has helped you! If it has, would you mind passing it along to your friends, family, and co-workers? Print this out and pass it around your office today.
I would also love to hear your thoughts about today’s Blog! What are your biggest communication breakdowns? How do you deal with them? What have you found that has helped you improve your communication with others in your workplace? Until next time I wish you peace, love and success. Martin Acton sensei www.martinactonaikido.com
By Martin ACTON 12 Jul, 2017
“What is the biggest challenge you have with people?”

The top answers were really interesting. They were dealing with betrayal, negative people, people not saying what they mean, and trusting people.
What I noticed about these answers is they all seem to be about other people. But the reason we have these challenges is actually not because of the other person. It’s because we think we can change people. That is so far from the truth!
Here’s what I know:

Many are called to lead, but very few will make the investment to learn how to deal with people. If you are reading this right now, it’s because you are called to step up as a leader in your company, family, or community. We won’t know who the few are until we see the results…
So you saw the top challenges people reported. And here is my answer to that…
Quit trying to change people! You cannot change other people. You can only change how you deal with people. Do not try to change your spouse, your kids, your co-workers, or your clients. Learn how to motivate their strengths and train up their weaknesses without condemnation.
You must begin to honour the people around you. Focus on building them up and creating good, harmonious relationships. Be part of a rare breed of people who are achieving success and wealth while honouring others! This means NOT trying to change people to be what YOU think they should be.
In fact, change starts with you.
The challenges you have with people are not because they can’t communicate or because they are negative. NO! The challenges you have with people are because of the way YOU deal with them. It’s the way you react to them, their issues, and their communication skills.
If you have conflicts with people in your office, family, church, or community, there is only one way that is guaranteed to fix it: Change how you deal with the people around you!
The reality is, people around you often reflect your attitude, your insecurities, and your issues. If you are suspicious, unfriendly, and condescending, you will find those traits all around you. You are a product of your environment.

So let’s go back to those challenges I told you about earlier, and I want to show you what I’m talking about…
Betrayal – Have you betrayed the people around you? Have you followed through and done the things you said you would do? Have you gossiped about them?
Dealing with negative people – Are you positive? Do you let negativity slip out of your mouth? Are you sarcastic, or are you supportive? Do you speak life or death? Do you speak excuses, or do you speak results?
People not saying what they mean – Do you always say what you mean? Do you sugar-coat the truth? Do you exaggerate or stretch the truth? Do you only tell people what they want to hear?
Trusting people – Are you trustworthy? Do people feel that they can trust you? Are you honest?
The point I want to make here is that it’s important to look in the mirror first. You can either blame all of your people problems on the people around you, or you can be one of the few who will step up and make the investment to increase your skills with people. And when you increase your people skills, you decrease your stress, save money, and increase your income.
And that, my friend, is something we could all use! So would you please take just a minute to share this message with the people around you? You can massively increase your influence in your company and community by simply forwarding this blog on to those people around you, co-workers, friends and family even your clients. I challenge you to share this with even just one person and see what an impact this will make. It might be just the thing the person needs to help them see a bigger picture. Until next time I wish you peace, love and success. Martin Acton sensei
By Martin ACTON 06 Jul, 2017
Today I want to tell you about something that will help you in business, in your career, in your family, and really every area of your life.
Because here’s the truth: Everyone likes to be encouraged and edified. Everyone likes to feel special and important. And when you bring this principle into your company or your home, you won’t believe the difference it makes!
What does it mean to edify someone? It means to build them up. To uplift and encourage them.
But it’s so much more than just saying nice things to someone. There is such a huge benefit, both for you and them. And it takes a certain level of leadership and maturity to recognise that benefit and to actually use this strategy in your circle of influence.
First of all, when you edify someone in your company, in your community, or in your family, you are building that person’s reputation. When you edify that person in public, you are positioning them as a leader, as someone others will follow. You are actually positioning other people’s perception of the person you’re edifying.
I want you to think about that for a minute. Imagine that you are a CEO, and you see Sue, the receptionist in your office, who is doing a really great job. She is on the front line – she is the first person your clients come in contact with, and she is quick and efficient, and she always honours your clients and does her best to fill their needs. So you decide to call Sue out and edify her in front of the other staff members in your office. You tell her what a great job she is doing, and that you really appreciate her dedication to helping the team. You tell your staff that Sue is a great example of the kind of leader you are looking for in this company.
What does that do for your employees? It causes them to see Sue as a leader in the company. It totally changes their perception of her. And who is she? She’s the receptionist! She is the voice of the company. And by edifying her, it causes the rest of the employees to want to be part of it.
What does it do for Sue, the receptionist? It gives her a reputation she wants to live up to! You just set her up as a leader in the company by encouraging the things you want to see more of. And guess what? She will continue to step into that role.
And what does it do for you? It positions you as a leader. It shows that you are someone who encourages and speaks highly of others. It creates a mutually beneficial relationship between you and the person you’re edifying.
When you cultivate an environment of encouragement and edification, people want to be there. When people work in a positive environment, they want to come to work, and they will work better and produce more results.
Have you ever seen a company where there is a lot of negativity, a lot of belittling, and a lot of gossips? It’s because the environment allows it. Edification changes the environment into a place where people are happy to be there. It creates a certain standard for that environment and gives people the proper frame of mind.
There’s no downside to edification. Seriously, who doesn’t want to create more harmony, more productivity, and more effective teamwork inside of your company or family?
A lot of people won’t edify others because they are so full of pride. But edification is not about building the other person’s ego. It’s about positioning. Even if you can’t stand the person… Even if they drive you crazy sometimes… Even if you could do a better job of it… Edify them! It’s not about you; it’s about positioning them and pulling the best out of them.
Whether you are the CEO of the company or you were hired yesterday; whether you own the company or you work in the mailroom, this is something you can start practising today. Edify your boss, your co-workers, your clients, and your prospects.
And it’s not limited to work situations. Edify your family! Edify your spouse in front of your children. Edify your children in front of their siblings. Edify your kids’ teachers in front of your kids.
You will be amazed by the changes you will see in the people around you. You will not recognise your work environment after you start creating this kind of culture. I’m telling you, by creating an atmosphere of edification, you are setting yourself and your company or family up for outrageous success.
It’s no secret that our world is full of negativity. All you have to do is look around you. But my friend, we can do something to change that! Imagine if you lived in a culture of honour, encouragement, and edification. Imagine how great it would be if everyone around you used this very simple strategy to create better relationships, to build bigger profits, and to expand their influence. How awesome would that be?! Until next time I wish you peace, love and success. Martin Acton sensei
By Martin ACTON 30 Jun, 2017
If I took you for a coffee, sat you down and asked you “What do you want in life?” I bet I would get one of two answers, the first would be a confused look, and you would tell me you did not know! The other answer would be that you wanted a good job, nice title, a car, money in the bank and a decent place to live.
Let’s take a closer look at the second answer above. If I could wave a magic stick and “Hey presto your wish is granted”. How long would you be happy for? A week, a month a year? The problem is these things come and go and soon we are unhappy again. Why?
Having those things are wonderful, but what you really want is the feeling that those things generate within you. Inner peace, contentment and gratitude.

In society, we define success by the things we have rather than by the people we’ve become. Rather that measuring our progress by how many lives we are influencing. We gauge it by how much money we are making, how fast we are getting promoted and how many latest gadgets we own. Is it any wonder people are so miserable?

There is nothing wrong with having nice things. I love being surrounded by beautiful things. The furniture in my dojo is top quality. I love wearing good stylish clothes and driving a nice reliable car. I made a commitment to myself about a year ago and that is to go through life first-class. I want to be rich! This starts with a feeling of being rich, then I will become rich. How do I know? I did the same thing when I started Aikido. I wanted to be the best of the best so I spent time, money and a lot of effort being with the Top Masters in Japan and learning from them. I am one of the highest level instructors in the world!
I am not saying this to brag just that when I put my mind to doing something, I do it or die trying.

Everyone should have a beautiful life. This is the purpose of life, to grow to maturity and become Master over the material world. However, I have never let my possessions define me. You will run into trouble when you let what you have form the basis of who you are and your identity in the world. Because if you lose those things you loose yourself. Do not become a slave to things. Make the most of life every day. Who you are becoming is far more important than what you own.

The impact you are having on your teammates, customers and loved ones by the positive example you model is far more important than the money you make. If your focus is on making money, then your focus is off doing great work! This is the very thing that will make you more money.

If you really want to be extraordinary, focus on becoming an extraordinary person!
It is not possible to grow your interior world and not see a corresponding growth in your exterior world. So make working on yourself job number one. As you awaken your true nature within and become a more confident, creative and a world class person, your interactions with others cannot help but get to a whole new level of greatness.

You have a natural inner leader within that will show you how to find your true nature. All you have to do is make your relationship with it stronger each day. When you were a child you knew your true nature. You were awake to the call of your life to make a mark, to realise big things and live life as a glorious adventure. Now is the time to get back in touch with your natural inner leader. Leading from the inside out, so that your bigness can be seen is the DNA of all enduring excellence. Until next time I wish you peace, love and success. Martin Acton Sensei
By Martin ACTON 25 Jun, 2017
Expect winning results but do nothing, that is how most people go through life. To be a top world class athlete requires training and strengthening yourself to perform at extraordinary levels when you step up to perform. You need such internal power that you feel unstoppable, invincible and unbeatable, to face the relentless pressure and unpredictable changes that will try to destroy you. Michael Jordan is the best basketball player the world has ever seen. Was he born shooting baskets? No. He trained harder than anyone else to reach that level. How many people in business train hard before they go to the job?

A world class organisation consists of people that give personal excellence in all that they do. They perform at a first class level every day, regardless how they feel. They are committed to being the best of the best! Results talk for them, and they produce the results in a positive, fun and enjoyable way for all concerned.

As you and the other people you work with, come to understand that you have a natural born leader inside you waiting to be let free, you will start to perform at your best. When you all do your absolute best together, then your organisation will start and become its absolute best!

Illustriousness, greatness and eminence on the outside start from within. Before you unleash your peak performance at work or at play you first have to feel like you are doing that. You need world class mental toughness inside you, to face the competition and outclass them. To bring out the best in your co-workers you first have to bring out the best in yourself. You can’t lead others if you can’t lead yourself.

Decide to devote yourself to becoming so strong internally that you appear to others that you are failure-proof! Clean up your negative beliefs & false assumptions about the sort of leader you can become. Constantly strive to enrich your character, make your intentions purer and your actions better. Exercise to maintain a healthy body full of energy and radiate vitality.

To be the best of the best also requires you to clear up the emotional dimension of your life. You need to let go of the resentments you may be carrying and dump the baggage from your past. (If you give me 30 minutes I can help you eliminate the crap) This stuff is holding you back and preventing you from attaining your greatness! Also, a world class person works on his / her spiritual life, this is the connection to be polished so that you donate your best years at work to doing deeds that will last beyond your death. Life is over in the blink of an eye. We need to think about the legacy we leave behind, not on our death bed but NOW! That way you get to live your life backwards and make sure that it has a good ending. Instead of being on your death bed crying for more time! You have so much potential, wake up. This life is not a rehearsal. You are only here once and you cannot get the time back. So make the best of it. Get out of the coma. Realise what is most important in life. Actualize your potential, show leadership do your part to make the world better through the work you are doing and the person you are becoming.

At birth, you received fabulous talents, original insights to help improve things, and a corresponding responsibility to grow and express that genius over the course of your life. To elevate the lives of others around you in the process. Many people never figure this out and so they die unfulfilled. Every day you are alive, is another chance to push the envelope and stretch yourself to the maximum and to give everything all that you have. Hold nothing back. Then you can face the Creator and say I gave life, my all, with very few regrets. This is your gift back to Him. :) I say this is a smart way to live. What do you think? Until next time I wish you peace love and success. Martin Acton sensei
By Martin ACTON 13 Jun, 2017
You have one life to live and the free will to choice how you live it. It is important to remember this is not a dress rehearsal, you only live once, so why not decided that from today on you will do something every day to make your life and the lives of those around you better? Enjoy life and make each day a positive experience for everyone that you come into contact with. This will produce such amazing results for you that you will be amazed.

One thing I am going to do from now on is to stop finding other people's weak points. This is focusing on the negative and I have found it does not help to constantly tell people they are doing something wrong. From now on I am going to focus on the strengths and for one fault I see, I will try to find three things the person does well. If I can’t find three things to encourage the person I will keep quiet.

I would like to encourage you to become spectacular in all that you do, be it at work, at home or a play. Give your absolute best and you will succeed at whatever you put your mind to doing.

An extremely important question to keep asking yourself is “Who are you becoming as a human being?” The external things in life are nice but if you chase after the “bling, bling” only, you will end up an empty shell, lonely, and unfulfilled. By focusing on how you can contribute to improving things and helping as many people every day as you can, will result in you having lived a full, generous and fulfilling life, with no or very few regrets. That is a life lived well.

I would also like to encourage you to dream big and to practice visualising yourself as the person you most want to be. When we were children we loved to imagine things. I loved being a cowboy when I was four. Then a soldier, a police officer at ten. An action hero that could stop all the bad guys. Then I went to high school and was told to grow up and stop day dreaming. I stopped dreaming of things the way I wanted them to be and accepted that I was just an average “Joe Blow”. Then, fortunately, I left school, Northern Ireland and went to England, the USA and Japan. There I learnt to dream again.

I saw myself becoming a world class Aikido Master! I determined I would pay whatever price was necessary to bring this to pass. Consequently 29 years later I am the person I saw all those years ago. I work every day challenging myself and my students to improve our skills and I wake up every morning excited and full of anticipation knowing I will find a new technique or some way to help my students improve. Their growth and improvement gives me so much satisfaction. I love my job. I love my dojo and every one of my students. I want you to find your calling, purpose and meaning in life. So you can experience happiness, clarity of mind and inner peace. I believe every person on this wonderful planet wants to thrive. This means to be peaceful happy and successful. We were born to live! Not to just get by and exist.

Set your expectations high for yourself and others. Step up to the plate and put it all on the line. Hold nothing back, give it all. Pay the price for what you want, then you can be free to enjoy it. Don’t take the shortcuts, the quick easy way or the fast way. This will mess you up. Give more than is asked and let people know, you are the real deal, the genuine original you. When you give your word to do something then that thing will be done. Come hell or high water you will do it or die trying. This is a strong person and others will respect, listen to you and follow you on the path of life. Your conscience, sixth sense or your instincts will guide you. Until next time I wish you peace, love and success.
Martin Acton sensei
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