A year ago today, the world lost Dr. William Aprill. In the self-defense community, we miss him as a scholar and teacher. I miss him as a mentor and friend. Regularly, I think of issues personal and professional that I want to discuss with him, get his take on, hear his encouragement about.
I’ve been thinking about a lot lately about this phrase that was on a challenge coin he gave me:
“Be honest about the problem. Do the work.”
It applies to so many areas, a driver to be better in so many ways. It’s how I hear his voice now when I need it.
Is the problem internal and personal? A mental health struggle? Admit it. Do the work to get your mind more functional.
Is the problem physical? An illness or injury? Get it looked at. Do the work to heal from it, no matter how painful, no matter how tedious.
Is the problem personal, in your relationships with others? What’s causing it? What is it that you’re doing or not doing? Figure it out. Do the work to make them better, whether it’s better communication or better boundaries.
Is the problem that you are under assault, a long-term insidious campaign or an immediate blitz? Who is your enemy and how are they hurting you? Identify the vector of attack. Do the work to stop or redirect it.
Is the problem a failure in an organization you’re part of, voluntary or paid? What, precisely, isn’t working as well as it should or could? Call it out; name it. Do the work to fix it.
You might be able to find the truth about a problem yourself, with true introspection, or you might need informal or professional help.
You might be able to do the work on your own, or you might need a hand to solve the problem, maybe an entire team to share the load.
Maybe the problem gets solved; maybe it doesn’t. That’s not the important part.
It comes down to being honest about what the problem entails in all of its simplicity or complexity, describing it and understanding everything about it. Then buckling down and doing the work, step by grinding step, measuring progress in millimeters if you must.
Because that’s what we do. That’s how it be.