I was talking to a fellow toastmaster today about the changes in people who have been learning some form of martial art for a while. She has a friend who started practicing martial arts 5 years ago who is now a martial arts teacher. We were talking about the increased sense of life fulfillment and confidence of a person who takes it upon themselves to develop a skill they are interested in. Tai chi is a skill. There is plenty of room to improve this skill, and with this improvement comes many psychological benefits.
I was listening to a talk by the life coach Tony Robbins a few months ago and he mentioned the hierarchy of needs that we all strive to fill. It was not Maslow’s hierarchy but a variation that included the need to feel we are developing or improving ourselves. The example he was using was the example of a job. Many people feel stuck in their jobs simply because their position does not allow for them to improve themselves via increased skill, increased understanding, and increased competence, in any way at all. The benefit of having a skill based hobby such as tai chi in our lives is that we can constantly feel as though our ability, understanding and self are improving. This feeling fills our need to feel we are improving ourselves and can generally make people feel happier with themselves and their lives.
Along with helping to fulfill this need, practicing tai chi can also build self confidence. There are not many opportunities throughout our daily 9-5 life to feel that we have total control over our life paths. It can seem as though the control of our life situation is in the hands of our boss, our spouse, and our children’s schedules, anything but us. The use of a skill based hobby allows us to take total control over our skill development. It is in our own hands and completely up to us how much we want to practice, how much we want to attend class, how much time we mentally want to spend on remembering and rehearsing the movements. Through time and increased ability, witnessing our development can raise our self confidence by improving our sense of personal power and accomplishment.
These two similar yet distinct points of feeling as though we are improving ourselves, and having the ability to confidently take total control of our growth and development, allow us to improve our psyches. Tai chi is very good for health, enjoyable, and usually practiced in a community. It is a perfect hobby to take on in order to improve ourselves in and outside of class.