Using a ‘Self Rule’ to succeed

Over spring break I was reintroduced to a concept that will guarantee success to anyone who adheres to it.

This concept doesn’t involve shortcuts or false promises. The only guarantee involving this concept is one thing: what you put into it you will get out of it. Now, allow me to introduce you to the Self Rule.

The Self Rule is a concept that was created in the popular Japanese cartoon series “Naruto.” In the cartoon, there’s a character — who shares a striking resemblance to Bruce Lee — named “Might Guy.” Guy is a high-intensity fitness junkie that loves competing.

To ensure success in the long run — regardless of losing or winning in the moment — Guy created a Self Rule for himself. By making a commitment to stand behind his word no matter the consequences it would only lead to growth. The penalty for failing in competing usually has a catch. The severe penalty that lies on the other side of the rule is intended to sharpen your focus on the task at hand.

For example, there was a case in which Guy imposed his Self Rule before a game of rock paper scissors. It went like this: should Guy lose in a simple game of rock paper scissors, he would do 500 laps on his hands around his village. Yes, 500 laps. On his hands. When asked what was the purpose of such an extreme rule, Guy explained by holding himself to such a high standard — even in failure — ensures that he is always becoming better than the trainer he was yesterday.

His son followed and lived by this rule, too. Whenever he couldn’t finish his workout, he found another way to train himself.

“If I can’t do 200 push-ups,” he said while struggled at 195, “then it is 250 sit-ups.”

Either way, if he failed at the push-ups, he’s improving in another aspect because of his Self Rule.

I think we all should have a Self Rule in route to achieving our goals. There isn’t another person that will hold you accountable more than yourself. The myriad of resources we have in the social media era allows for us to access information quickly and efficiently. There’s no reason why we should not improve daily.

If you cannot meet one goal, punish yourself in ways that will cause success later.

In terms of mental capacity or fitness, if you don’t use it, you lose it. There is no such thing as staying the same — you’re either improving or getting worse. Therefore, a Self Rule is important for growth. Success doesn’t happen overnight.

In failure or success there is always room for improvement, and without a Self Rule, a person can get too high when winning and can reach their nadir in the face of defeat.

How you respond when losing is tantamount to the response of winning — all the reason why a Self Rule is needed.  After all, you only lose when you don’t learn.