Life is a Precision Jump
MovNat Maestro Erwan LeCorre will tell you that there are three phases to a precision jump: 1. The Take-off Phase, 2. The Airborne Phase and 3. The Landing. He will also tell you that in a well-executed jump it is the landing—or rather the desired landing—that determines the other two phases. In other words, in a well-executed jump your focus should not be on the take-off as such, but on how you want to land. If you are clear about how you wish to land, then you will know how you must take off and what adjustments to make in the air as you prepare for thelanding. In a very real sense life is just like this. To live our lives well and with meaning we need to contemplate the final phase—i.e. how we wish to land at the end.
The late, great, Stephen Covey summed up this idea with the phrase: “Begin with the End in Mind” in his brilliant book The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People. Life, like a well-executed precision jump, works best when we have given our attention to how we would like it to end. For sure there are many things in life that are out of our control. But if we get off to the right kind of start, even if things change along the way, we have a better chance of having the right kind of ending. Even in the airborne phase of the precision jump we can, and often do, make minor adjustments in order to ensure that we land correctly. Instead of leaping blindly into life’s many challenges, let us keep the end in mind, and then take-off trusting that we know where we are headed.
The adjustments we make in the airborne phase of the jump are very subtle and more often adjustments in the mind as much as they are in the body. We may position our knees a little higher, or flex our feet or swing our arms a little more forward to gain extra momentum in the flight. All the while our focus, i.e. our attention, is on the destination. It is the landing we are adjusting for—which is a future event. The adjustment we make for that future event is in the present, but its purpose and objective lies in the future. Wise people have a long-term view of things and are in it for the long game. Less wise folk often seek short term gains which turn to regret later in life.
Body Focus: What do we seek from our exercise and movement habits? Short term goals like building big-bulging muscles at the cost of mobility; or winning the next competition no matter what? We can achieve these sorts of goals through destructive means such as the intake of steroids, or over-intense training. But the long-term harm that these methods entail mean that we will no doubt arrive at old-age in a bad condition; for if they do not ruin our reputations, they will certainly ruin our bodies. Alternatively, we can find sustainable movement habits, lifestyles and modalities that can help ensure we arrive at the end of our lives healthy, happy and strong.
Relationship Focus: We can hurt others’ feelings by launching off on a self-righteous fit of anger because ‘now they’ve gone too far’ only to land badly—hurting others, and ourselves, and regretting the words we loosed so carelessly whilst we were in the ‘airborne phase’ of our argument; or we can ‘take-off’ carefully giving regard to how we would like our mutual relationship to end.
Global Focus: We can continue to burn fossil fuels and destroy the earth whilst we enjoy whatever temporary pleasure such recklessness brings us: Perhaps lucrative rewards from the fossil-fuel lobby; perhaps profits in our business or job security. But at the end of this joy-ride we will be left with a scorched earth for our children to inherit. Likewise we can ignore the cries of innocent children evicted from their homes because of our cowardice to speak out against injustice because we are comfortable perched where we are. But in the end, we too will have to take flight, and hope that others are not so heartless as we ourselves were, once upon a time.
Business/Productivity Focus: We can launch into a new venture not having really contemplated how it should look at the end, or we can follow the advice of productivity guru David Allen and write down our project before we take any next action in it, by describing what it would look like at the end; so that our next action always brings us one step closer to our goal. And when our description matches our reality, we will know we have successfully arrived at the end of our venture.
Parenting Focus: If we are blessed to have a child, it means we have a precious trust in our hands. Before we give this precious trust into the care of strangers at school, or strangers on YouTube, shouldn’t we pause to think: what kind of life do I want this child to have? What kind of adult do I want him or her to become? And then work our way backwards from there to figure out how we should best raise this child now? If I want this child to be fit, strong, happy and healthy what should I feed her? how should I play with her? what stories should I share with her? when, where and how should I spend time with her-at home in front of a screen? Out in nature? With people who look just like her or with different children, of different faiths, races and cultures? There is yet another way to think about this: When we launch into our journey as parents, what kind of parents do we intend to become?
Spiritual Focus: We all know that our lives will come to an end. So will the lives of our loved ones. Whilst we fly through life shouldn’t we therefore keep an eye on that end and contemplate what that might mean about how we should live our lives now? With what intention do we set out to do the things that we do?
From the Great Traditions:
“If you’re as careful at the end as you were at the beginning, you’ll have no failures.’” (Lao Tzu)
“Actions are by intentions, and everyone will have what they intended…” (Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him))
In this moving meditation we made reference to:
Erwan Le Corre’s The Practice of Natural Movement
Stephen Covey’s The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People
David Allen’s Getting Things Done
And the words of the Sage Lao Tzu and the Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him).
About Moving Meditations
Moving Meditations are brought to you by Munawar Karim as a means to share with you his insights into the connection between our physical, intellectual and spiritual selves.
Munawar Karim is a Natural Movement Coach, Author, Educator and Martial-Artist.
Remember: Life is a precision jump so begin with the end in mind. (Munawar Karim)