Produce Results by Naturally Flowing vs. Setting to Force Outcomes in Your Life

One of the gotcha’s in Aikido practice is “setting” to perform a technique. My sensei teaches that the techniques are there to support me in learning to be in the flow of the energy. He also emphasizes that setting to do a technique is a way to take me out of that flow and interject force and determination into the flow.

For me, my habit is to set to “prepare” to do what I think is next in the technique. That’s the crux of the issue! When I set, I’m literally out of the flow and I am no longer in the present moment–I’m either in the future and knowing how it will turn out or I’m in the past worrying about how to perform better than I did last time. Therefore, taking me from the real Aikido training, which is being in the present moment and blending/flowing with the energy that’s there.

This Aikido lesson is essential in my life! How often have I stopped listening to someone and is set to interject my thoughts or views in a conversation?

How often have I stopped myself from relating with other people because I know or worried about the same things that had hurt me in the past will hurt me again if I continued?

I see how I “set” to speak with my children about their chores, their grades, their life!

I come into these conversations not present in the moment and flowing with the energy but set to do something because I already know how it should be and how it will turn out. And, most of the time, I’m forcing the outcome and I’m left frustrated and dissatisfied. The people in my life is forced to bend to my particular views.

Recently I realized how much I was “set” about my 14 year-old son’s school performance! I wanted him to perform to what I thought he was capable of doing, and being frustrated that he wasn’t living up to his potential.

This mind “set” caused a rift between my son and me to where he wouldn’t or couldn’t talk to me about practically anything that was happening in his life. I saw how set I was in my own view that I didn’t allow for my son to express himself or to come to me for any support.

When I saw the impact this view had on my relationship with my son, I let it go and committed to being connected and loving with him. I was able to apologize to my son about how I was being with him. I was able to hear about his struggles and his needs, which was about growing up and finding his own expression in the world!

I was present in the moment and flowed with the conversation inside of my love and connection with my son. He’s still struggling to find his way. But out of the conversation with me, he gets that I will be there to support him and he can speak to me at any time he needs. He’s free to explore what he wants to do and he has my support. And, we also agreed to be accountable to our word with each other.

Where do you “set” in your life?

Have a Great Day!

Thanh Huynh
Leadership, Executive and Life Coach – San Jose, CA – San Francisco Bay Area

If you would like to chat with me about how I can help you move forward in your leadership and life, please email me at

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