Your relationships define level of your success

  • By Martin ACTON
  • 02 Jun, 2017
The quality of a family, group, organisation or business is determined by the quality of the relationships between the individuals. If you want to be the BEST in the world you need to build extraordinary relationships. Everyone has something they can teach you, so it is crucial that you do not have a condescending attitude towards others. Especially this is true of upper and middle management. Looking down on a person because he is doing blue collar work is unacceptable. The janitor is just as important in an organisation as the top CEO. Why? They both have roles that need to be filled in order for the organisation to run smoothly. If there were no janitors just think what a mess the place would be. In World class companies, the people know the names of each individual. For a Manager not to know the names of his staff is appalling and this person needs more training or to be replaced.

I met this retired gentleman, his name was Mr Sasaki he was the General Director for a very successful company in Japan. Mr Sasaki was a real powerhouse in business and his standards were platinum level. He never wasted a moment. Everything he did was focused, goal oriented and constantly on the lookout for ways to improve things. The thing that really impressed me about him though, was the fact that he knew the names of every person in his office building. And he treated every person as if he or she was the most important person in the Universe, not just the world. No one was insignificant to Mr Sasaki.

He taught me a very valuable lesson that I would like to share with you. The deeper your relationships, the stronger your leadership. Imprint on your brain the word HUMAN. This is a very useful acronym.

H. is for Helpfulness. To become a master and a true leader, always do more than you are
paid to do. Don’t just give lip service and go through the motions of serving others, really
put your whole self into what you do. This will make an impact that other will never
forget. Many workers are in a world of their own. They have become desensitised to
seeing the importance of customers and treat them casually, abruptly or ignorantly. This
is unacceptable in world class organisations. We should always be as helpful as we
possibly can.

U. is for Understanding. World class people are masterful at understanding people. This is achievable by developing the skill of listening deeply. Talk less, listen more! Make the other person feel that the world has stopped because you have a genuine fascination for what that person is saying. Give 100% concentration to what words are coming from the other person. This will make you stand way, way out from the crowd. Going the extra mile means to forget about what you want to say, to impose your thinking on others.Really listening to another person is the highest compliment you can pay someone. You honour a person by giving them fabulous listening. Everyone on the planet has a deep hunger to be understood.
M. is to remind you to Mingle. Get out there and connect with the other workers and network with your clients, customers and bystanders. People will always do business with people they like! Be out there making the people feel important, appreciated and
cared for. if they are looking for something, go and get it for them. take them to what it is they want. If you don’t have it try and find out when the item will be back in stock. If you don’t sell the item, recommend a place they can get it. This is real service. They will remember this experience and will not only come back to do more business with you, but they will tell others how great you are.

A. is for Amuse. Don’t come across as too serious. People like to shop to reduce stress to feel good and to forget their problems. Laugh and have some fun with the customers this is not wasting time or being unproductive. Actually, this will boost your productivity.
When you have fun the energy of the whole company raises to higher and higher levels. Stress goes down, fewer people get sick, attendance improves and people become happy.

N. is for Nurture. Be genuinely and awesomely nice. This shows you are a strong person. A lot of people mistake being nice as being weak. This is wrong education. Really strong people are balanced between being compassionate and courageous. Put relationships first! Be tender and tough. Always treat people with kindness and respect. Develop your relationships, smile, give a caring gesture and use positive words. Leave each person you come into contact with better, happier and more engaged than they were before they met you!

You will see soon that this way of living will really help your career and your life. If you really take care of people the money will come to you automatically. Help others to become super successful and they will do the same for you. Until next time I wish you peace, love and success. Martin Acton sensei

Martin Acton's Aikido Institute

By Martin ACTON 19 Sep, 2017
Everyone has twenty-four hours in a day. You have the power to make today something that you regret or something you can be proud of. Everything starts with a thought. The thought leads to a feeling and a feeling is followed by an action.
Own the day! Today you are going to make today count in everything that you think, say, and do. When you walk into a room you are going to brighten that room. People are going to gasp when they see you because they will feel your powerful positive presence. Today you are reaching for brilliance stand for excellence and love everything that is in your life, the good, bad and the ugly.

You are not merely wanting to be the best at what you do. People will consider you world class when you give your all, holding nothing back, stay true to your dreams and pursue your ideals.
Nothing may happen for a while. That is just how things appear. Everything matters every choice, decision and conclusion matters. The world turns at its own pace, not man's pace. Be patient. Believe. What you desire is coming to you if you hold tight and don’t waver. A Master stone cutter chips away at a large piece of a stone day in and day out. He devotes himself, invests his whole mind body and spirit into the job and finally with one last blow he is finished. Before his eyes out of the stone stands a beautiful world-class work of art. Michael Angelo’s “David”.
Have the courage to present your gifts with all your being. By giving to the maximum of your ability this will yield spectacular rewards. Today is the best time to be the best you.

Sumiko was a 30-year-old brain surgeon in Tokyo and she joined my dojo in Yokohama, Japan. She was one of the best students I have ever taught. She moved so gracefully like a little doll. Absolutely fantastic at whatever she put her hand to. When I showed her a technique, she would watch it from several perspectives, after that she would make notes, then go on to experiment with the technique playing with it using all her physical power (number 1), going to try it with no concentration or power at all (number 2) and then unifying her mind and body focusing on doing it exactly as I had shown her. 10 times out of 10 times she would nail it perfectly. Sumiko was so driven to make the most out of every day.

I asked her why she did what she did? She told me that nothing came easy for her in life, that whatever she wanted she had to work really hard at it because she was instinctively lazy and uncoordinated. When she was little she did badly in school because she could not focus on what was being taught. No one could help her and she was bullied by other students in her class because she was slower than them. One day a monk came and talked to her class and he inspired her to make each day a day to be proud of. Regardless of what others said or did, we all have the ability to make today better than yesterday.

From that talk, Sumiko decided to take her weakness and turn it into a strength. She paid more attention to what she was being taught, she asked questions and experimented with everything. Soon she developed a love for learning, growing and improving. She went on to graduate from medical school being the top student not only in her class but in the whole year.

She paid the price for success and when it came she enjoyed it fully. She lives every day being world class at everything she does. Sets the bar at its highest and lives at a level that few in the world will attain. Lives in a movie star house, she drives the top level automobiles, wears only top-level brand name clothing. Helps everyone she meets and never thinks she is better than anyone. When she sees someone struggling she is the first to go to that person and assists the person. Everyone loves Sumiko because she is the real genuine deal. Every day she starts the day with the thought “Today is another chance to excel and to be so good that when I put my head down to sleep tonight I can say that I lived that day fully and I am proud of it”. Until next time, I wish you peace love and success. Martin Acton sensei
By Martin ACTON 12 Sep, 2017
When you go after a goal, it is important to enjoy the process not just focus on attaining the desired result. The journey offers you far more value and as many rewards as getting to your destination. How come? Because it is the journey to your ideals that moulds your character, offers you opportunities to realize your potential, and tests you to see how committed you are to succeeding. The journey teaches you, transforms you, and stirs up the genius within you. You discover and develop the qualities of greatness such as courage, tenaciousness, resilience, compassion and understanding. Reaching the destination or goal feels fantastic. However, it doesn’t bring you the same sustained gifts that the journey does.
The next time you feel impatient, frustrated or hopeless on your path to the personal and professional life you want, keep in mind that exactly where you are might just be the best place you could possibly be. Also maybe the journey is better than the destination.
It is important when going after a goal, to never lose sight of the integrity of the journey .”
Andy Garcia the actor.
Makoto was a 23-year-old business man that came and joined my dojo in Yokohama, Japan. He really had the fire in his belly to get promoted as quickly as he could. His thinking was that if he attained the black belt position he would be peaceful, contented and happy. He trained hard every day. When he was shown a technique or a move he would practice it 10,000 times until he could not get it wrong. He got through the grades up to 2nd kyu and he hit a wall. The harder he practised the worse the techniques became. Eventually, none of the techniques worked and he was growing more and more frustrated. One day he came to me in tears and said “Martin Shihan,  I can’t do this anymore! No matter how hard I try or how many times I try I just can’t get this to work. Can you please help me?” Makoto was a hard working, honest, and sincere man that helped others every day, so I told him I could help him but only if he was willing to apply what I told him to do. Of course, he said he would do anything.
I asked him if he enjoyed the process of learning Aikido and he said he did, that he always felt much better after coming to the dojo. I asked him what he got out of his practice sessions, was it just a feeling of getting another move down? He said honestly it was, and his goal was to learn more techniques than any of his friends knew. He wanted to become the top martial artist in the world that could not be defeated. I asked him that if he achieved this goal how would that change his life? He had a grand picture in his head of being  a movie star with fancy cars, a big house with a swimming pool, fans admiring him and beautiful women throwing themselves at him. He would have more money than he would be able to spend and all his problems would be solved. I smiled and asked him to remember me when he achieved his dreams.
But in order to get there, he would have to get past the 2nd kyu grading. The way to do this was probably one of the most difficult tasks he had ever faced in his life. It required him to do less not more. To feel his partner’s Ki and lead it softly, lightly and gently with a clear purpose. Makoto was a young buck and he loved doing things with physical power. This is the way men do things in the relative world. I told him he was doing Aikido in a way similar to a beginner driving a car. the beginner wants to go fast but can’t control the car so the person has to learn how to use the accelerator. Makoto had to learn to take his foot off the accelerator and slow things down. He had to learn to enjoy the journey and not just focus on being the best martial artist in the world. Because even if he attained this goal it would be a shallow achievement.
He had deeper issues that he needed to work on mentally such as his desires for approval, wanting to control everything and wanting to be safe. I worked with him on these issues and he grew a lot in the year that followed. eventually, he got his black belt and continued his studies. But the point he came to was that it was ok for him not to be the best martial artist in the world he still was the best Makoto in all of history and never has there been or ever will be another Makoto like him. Internally he found his real self and the external things he had been chasing ceased to be so important to him. He still wants those things and is still working to achieve them but he has his priorities in order and his Aikido is world class level. I hope you can get something from this article to help you.Until next time I wish you peace, love and success. Martin Acton sensei
By Martin ACTON 05 Sep, 2017
What distinguishes people who have an extraordinary character from the average person is the way they respond to inevitable curves that life throws at them. These people don’t fold like a paper fan, throw in the towel and quit. They reach deep inside themselves and exhibit even more of their highest original nature to the world.
No one has a perfect, trouble free life. We all have to deal with challenges on a large and small level. Right now in the world, people are divorcing, families are breaking up, parents are dealing with the death of a child. Someone has been in an accident that will leave them handicapped for life. A person is told he or she has a terminal disease and only a short period of time left to live. Sickness, loss disappointments, no one gets through life without experiencing these things.
However, you and I have the power to choose to rise above our external circumstances. We always have the choice to be strong, positive and to pick ourselves and others up when things fall apart. We can use the stumbling blocks as stepping stones to our greatest life.
I lived in Yokohama, Japan for about twenty years. There was this man named Mr Ota. He was a very humble, kind and loving man that always had a smile on his face. He passed away at the age of 55 which is very young. On his cremation day, 7000 people came to the service. Why? Was he a famous movie star? No. Was he a world level politician? No. Was he a corporate level successful business man? No. Mr Ota was a man that was always the first to help others in need. He treated everyone from beggars and homeless people to doctors and lawyers like that person was the most important person in the world. He was always polite, gentle and sincere. Never boasting about anything he did. He lived by the highest moral standards and served others every day to the best of his ability. Nothing was too much trouble for him to do if someone was in need. Mr Ota never made others feel like they were indebted to him and that they owed him anything. What he had, he gladly shared. He worked as a shoe repair man in one of the railway stations in Yokohama. People travelled half way across the country to have their shoes repaired by Mr Ota. Why? Because his work was world class level. He WOWED people every time they came into his work area. He was a master at what he did. Consequently, 7000 people showed their respect and gratitude at his cremation. Mr Ota was a truly good man.
Why does society not value being good?
We have so called reality TV that exhibits the worst of human behaviour! We see rock stars hanging out of hotel rooms, spitting on, mocking, and abusing their young female fans and swearing every other word. In the news, we hear about corporate leaders filling their pockets to buy more bigger boats, while share holders lose their entire life savings. These people think they are smart, cool and better than others. They laugh at the idea of being noble, honourable and nice. To them, these things are signs of weakness. I say these people are wrong! Greed is bad.
Being nice, decent and honest is a sign of strength. It is difficult to put others needs before our own, but this is the difference between living in Hell and in Heaven. It takes guts to stand for something higher, to behave greater and to be of service to others. A real leader does what is right and what is good. Let us become real people and show our extraordinary character in all that we do, every day. Until next time I wish you peace love and success. Martin Sensei
By Martin ACTON 29 Aug, 2017
How you live each day represents your life on a miniature scale. What you do with the hours today is being used by you to create your future. from the thoughts you think, to the words you speak, and the actions you take, all these are defining your destiny. These things combined create the person you are growing into, and ultimately what your life will stand for.

What seems like insignificant choices in time lead to colossal consequences. Every day is an important day. We are all born with a purpose and a role to fulfil. We are here on the planet to become the best individuals that we can be. To step into greatness. To thrive. To live a life of imperturbability. To excel at whatever with give our attention, energy and focus to. There is not one person on this earth that does not have an exquisite power within. This is what the Japanese call “Ki”. Everyone can choose to have a monumental impact on the world. The question is, will you choose to do it?

In order for our power to grow, it has to be used. The more you use it the stronger it becomes. The more you tap into this power, the more your confidence expands. You decide what you want from life. Look around and see the other people who are successful. Ask yourself “What would it be like for me to live the life of my dreams?” Then go for it! Whatever your dreams are, just take what ever action is required and keep going until you get there.

World class people are not more gifted than the rest of the people in the world. They just keep putting one foot in front of the other every day and keep moving towards their idealist life. An hour slips into a day, days slip into weeks, weeks slip into months, and months become years, suddenly they wake up one day and they arrive at a place called EXTRAORDINARY.

As you live your days, so you craft your life. I started doing the martial arts when I was eleven years old. In the 1970’s Bruce Lee impacted the world with his martial art skills. I read every book I could get my hands on about Bruce Lee and different martial arts. I watched TV programs called “Longstreet”, here Bruce Lee taught a blind man the arts of Jeet Kun Do. This was Bruce Lee’s unique fighting system. Another TV program that really impacted my life was the “Kung Fu” series with David Carradine. Bruce Lee’s movies like “Enter the Dragon” touched, inspired and drove me to become a martial artist. The walls in my bedroom were covered in Bruce Lees posters. At that time I had no idea how I could become a martial artist because there was no place teaching martial arts where I lived. So I prayed and asked God to guide me on my path.

It has been a real rodeo of a ride, full of unbelievable hardships, trials and challenges combined with, out of the world highs like working with world class Masters like Koichi Tohei and Iwao Tamura. Being able to help people improve their lives. Seeing people coming with absolutely no confidence at all and being able to leave to live successful, happy and independent lives. Helping people to heal and recover from physical, mental and sexual abuse. From living a humble, meagre, hand-to mouth life to becoming one of the top Masters in the world. The Universe has built me up to heights that would make your head spin, and taken everything I loved, cared and cherished away from me. It has taught me that I can be sent to a foreign country, with nothing, and within ten years I will build something substantial that can contribute to helping make other peoples lives better. My skills are priceless and I thank God, the Universe and life for teaching me what I know. I live my life every day trying to make each day better than the day before. To push my body and mind to the maximum to take a technique and work it so that I can’t get it wrong and when I do mess it up, I go back and practice and test it more. At the end of each day, I put my head down and sleep soundly because I have given that day my all. If I die before I wake I am prepared to meet God and to have him embrace me or so send me to hell depending on what He /She thinks I deserve. But I say the way I live my life is my gift back to God and I want to make it a full life. We can all live an extraordinary life if we choose to. Until next time I wish you peace love and happiness. Martin Acton sensei
By Martin ACTON 22 Aug, 2017
Consistency is the essence of mastery. Show up, practice with your whole mind, body and spirit, stay at it and really awesome results will be your reward.
To get the results of the Top 1% of the best of the best in the world requires you to have the courage, tenacity and indefatigability to do what only this 1% do. They have been beaten into the ground, abused verbally, mocked, laughed at, harassed, threatened and even tortured mentally and physically to attain this level of success. Still, they never lose sight of what they are going for. Instead, they practice these following things every day:
get up at 5 am.
prepare the mind for the day by reading, meditating or praying
exercise the body to kickstart energy and creativity
plan their day and then they work their plan
relax and believe they will achieve what it is they conceive.
There is no such thing as failure. You may not get the “Win”, or pass the test or be given the promotion you so rightly deserve. But these are just lessons to make you stronger, wiser and more empathetic. Failure also shows you how to appreciate the things you want, when you get it. If everything comes too easily, then we tend to under appreciate things. Failure is part of the learning process. It's helpful and massively instructive. We have to learn to use the data it is giving us, to become even more successful.
Change is part of life. Embrace it. Change is rough at first, disorderly in the middle and exquisite in the end. When you first try to change anything, be it to lose weight, to increase your sales, to stop worrying, you will have to fight the gravitational pull of your old habits. Depending on how long you have spent building your old habits, be it a year, a decade or most of your life, you cannot replace them in five minutes, a day or a week. The latest scientific research says it requires 66 days to instil a new habit. If you keep going you will get to second base. Here is the middle ground. Your old habits start to crumble and your new habits begin to form. It is disorderly, confusing, scary but completely natural. Finally, the change kicks in and all your grit and devotion start to pay off. Now you can unleash your potential and your life will never be the same. Now you can do the things others can’t even begin to dream of doing.
Small daily improvements over time lead to stunning results. an amazing world-class life isn’t built-in a day, by manipulating others or forcing others to do only what you demand. Nope.
All exceptional achievement, be it an entrepreneurial success, financial wealth, athletic championship mastery is the result of daily, consistent actions that over time create explosive results. It is all about working hard, at a steady pace. it's all about the insane levels of persistence. And if you do it; start saying no to all those time-wasting activities, so many of us are seduced into, by this age of dramatic distraction. You too will reach your mountain top.
To double your income, triple your investment in learning. This is a really powerful idea: once you know more, you can achieve more. when you invest in education then you are making the best investment of all. My Aikido Master Iwao Tamura told me that the years he spent three hours a day in personal development were the most financially rich years of his life. Three hours. Each day. In learning. Studying. Improving. He is my hero! If you really want to get to great in the important areas of your life, invest in courses. Go to a conference every quarter. Spend your cash on online courses. Download audiobooks from Amazon. Hang out with the best of the best. Mindsets are contagious.
You have the life you’ve settled for. This idea will upset some people. Sorry. Especially if your life is not turning out the way you hoped it would. Awesome lives are not built on excuses. Sure-it’s easier to blame others or conditions for the lives we have. That way we don’t have to leave the “Safe Harbor of the Known” and make changes. But that’s how cowards live, right? We have the lives we have created. We’re living the lives we have settled for. If your life isn’t working, it’s not because of anyone else or anything else. It’s because of us. Our beliefs, that drive our behaviour. Our fears. Our habits. Our actions. The moment you wrap your brain cells around this idea and accept absolute personal responsibility, life is NEVER the same. You start taking back the power. Doing the difficult things. Taking chances and making leaps. Life gets exciting, colourful, precious and fantastic! You deserve to live at a world-class level. So make your changes today. Start now! Until next time I wish you peace, love and success. Martin Acton sensei
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
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