I wrote this contemplation for class in April 2016.

The other day Sah-bum-num Smith gave a contemplation about the phrase/saying that each of his son, Sho's, Karate classes start with. In these classes, he said the instructor will ask "what did you bring to karate today?" And the students will say something along the lines, "I brought my best to karate today!"

Words can be powerful things, if you let them be. I do these P90X workouts and they can get pretty intense. They involve a lot of cardio and muscle use. In these videos, the instructor, Tony Horton, has a phrase - he'll yell out, "Do you best!" And everyone else will respond, "Forget the rest!". This phrase has gotten me through so many things. Whether I have to play a whole frisbee game, or there's a tough Tae Kwon Do class, I'll just repeat it in my head, "do your best, forget the rest", like a mantra. It's even more powerful if I say it out loud. There's something about physically saying the words, and hearing yourself say them, that makes it hit home.

Since the contemplation about Sho's class, I've been doing that for myself. When I walked into class today, I asked myself, "what did I bring to class today?" and replied to myself, "I brought my best to class today". Over the weekend, before every point I played in my frisbee game, I asked "what I brought to frisbee", "what I brought to that point", and replied with "my best".

I find that I have a physical response to doing this. When I let myself be in the moment and truly believe that I'm bringing my best, I feel my body get warm, as if there was a rush of blood. But at the same time, I get chills/goosebumps. I have a second of clarity, that I'm ready to tackle the next task.

Find what works for you, what phrase, what saying. And make sure you give yourself permission to believe it. You're not just saying it, just to say it (but that's a good start to train yourself to be open to it if you're not yet). But really believe it, and I think you'll see some amazing results.

Pooja Mathur