The power of practicing what might happen

Expect the expected.

You’ve probably heard the phrase “expect the unexpected”.

Well, to be a better prepared martial artist, learn to expect the expected.

One of the best things you can do to be prepared for the unexpected is to think about what could possibly happen and then practice what to say and what to do.

So what may be unexpected to most people is now expected to you. And your reaction is not only not a surprise to you, it’s precise and well executed. Because you’ve anticipated it and practiced it.

In Daniel Coyle’s The Little Book of Talent: 52 Tips for Improving Your Skills, it points out this concept:

When U.S. Navy SEAL Team 6 mounted its May 2011 raid on Osama bin Laden’s compound in Pakistan, it prepared by constructing full-scale replicas of the compound in North Carolina and Nevada, and rehearsing for three weeks. Dozens of times the SEALs simulated the operation. Dozens of times, they created various conditions they might encounter.

There are actually a limited number of things that will probably happen to you in life. And based on the environment, the people, and the situation, you can usually come up with a few things that are most likely to happen.

So spend some time each week (or each day, if you’re serious about improving yourself) and imagine scenarios. Think about what could happen and see and hear your response. Practice it. Perfect it.

You can get to the point where almost nothing is a surprise.

Like Sun Tsu said “Victorious warriors win first and then go to war, while defeated warriors go to war first and then seek to win.”

Or Seneca. “Nothing happens to the wise man against his expectations.”

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