Wants and Needs

I am currently reading Marc MacYoung’s excellent “Cheap Shots, Ambushes and Other Lessons”. Like all of his books I have read so far, it is entertaining but also full of valuable information. I strongly recommend buying a copy. Marc is a great guy and was kind enough to help me with my own book on self-defence.
The following passage particularly struck me:
I once knew a woman who felt destroyed when her sensei had told the class that they should expect to be defeated now and then. She claimed that it totally undermined her attempt to build self-confidence in her ability to defend herself. I called her reaction a cop-out. There are no guarantees in this world that something will work. There is, however, a bit of knowledge: the person who is looking for a guarantee will lose ninety-nine out of a hundred times to the person who is using their wits and always looking for a slight edge.
Even if we allow for the fact that this lady is probably from L.A, a rather large dose of “get over yourself” is probably in order. Personally I think a sensi that has the honesty and humility to admit this truth to his class sounds like one to be valued. Actually this lady seems to be displaying an attitude that I have been noticing a lot in the past few years. Too many people seem unable to distinguish between wants and needs.
I was supposed to clear a room the other week only to find it was still being used, so I arranged the deadline to be shifted a week. The next week I had the following conversation with a student:
“You know you guys have got to be finished and tidied up by Friday?”
“But some of us still haven’t finished.”
“That doesn’t matter. You have already had extra time and the room is needed. The world will not rearrange itself just because you are not ready.”
So often do I hear “But I want/ need…” used as a justification for doing something, often something stupid or selfish.
A girl nearly walked into me the other day. I saw her coming but was curious to see what would happen. She was busy looking at her phone while walking (a very foolish practice). What makes this memorable was her reaction of surprise and bafflement that she could walk into someone while she was ”busy”.
Learning to distinguish between what you want and what the universe is going to give you is an important step in life. Some people never seem to manage it, and being able to recognize this is also important.
A mugger will not decide not to attack you because you are late for an appointment. The rapist will not hold off grabbing you because you are busy putting junior in the childseat. That you have a text to read will not stop cars hitting you as you cross the road. That you want to use your phone does not allow you to drive without paying full attention.
Many of you will reject this truth simply because you “do not like it”.