Some takeaways I hope apply

I spent last weekend attending a hand-balancing workshop up in Portland with one of the best hand-balancers in the world. Aside from learning some specific techniques to improve my balance and watching someone that has reached one of the highest levels in an activity I’m passionate about, I also took away several gems that I think apply to all of us.

The first statement that really stuck out in my mind was: “respect the skill.” The instructor was specifically talking about a one arm handstand and commenting on its difficulty to attain. He reminded all of us that while it looks easy when we see someone do it on Instagram, most of the people posting those pictures were trained professionally 5 to 6 hours per day for 4 years to do nothing but balance on their hands. Most people that have a one arm handstand have been literally training for thousands of hours in nothing else. This is something many of us recreational athletes forget.

Of course I don’t expect anyone else to care about achieving a one arm handstand, but respecting the skill is a universal concept we can all use. Whether it’s running a 4 minute mile, losing 100 pounds, making your first million dollars, or becoming an expert in your field; we all need to be reminded our biggest goals probably took other people thousands of hours and years of commitment to achieve. That’s not to discourage anyone from trying to reach those goals at all. Instead it’s a reminder to fully commit if that’s truly what you want.

Another gem I took away was understanding the difference between a “perfect” handstand and “your” handstand. Several of the attendees had old shoulder injuries, limited flexibility, or some other limitation that prevented them from attaining the “perfect” handstand we all wanted. The instructor was completely supportive of everyone finding a handstand they could work with even if the alignment wasn’t perfect. He told us that even if we can’t get into the correct position now, there is no reason we can’t practice the skill anyway. He also made it very clear that we should be working to improve the technical aspects as our bodies and skills allow. This was the key point.

Very few people are in the condition required to do any activity perfectly. We all have limitations that hold us back in some way or another. There is no reason we can’t work around those limitations and still do the best we are capable of even if it isn’t the ideal. That said, we should constantly be working to reduce those limitations and improve over time. While we can accept that we aren’t perfect, we should not settle for less than perfect. We should always be doing our best to improve and get closer to perfection.

The final point I will share today relates to instruction. Between flights, hotels, food, the seminar itself, and all the other costs that go along with a weekend like this, I spent quite a bit of money. Every penny was worth it. Quality teaching is always worth the cost. I will admit those checks are hard to write sometimes and I wish I could write them more often than I do, but I’m always glad I spent the money when I return from a seminar. We can get surprisingly far on our own, but a good teacher will take us to where they’ve been and beyond. If you are in a position to do so, always spend money on a quality education.

I hope some of these points were valuable to you in your situation even if it has nothing to do with hand-balancing. I’ll do my best to sort out some more gems you might find interesting.