“Make Up Your Mind!”

Koichi Tohei Sensei was both my teacher and my father.

After our relationship became “teacher and student”, we had to stop thinking of each other as “father and son” and I never called him “Dad” again since then. My thoughts rest happily on our good memories when we were parent and child.

Recently I happened to remember one thing.

My father always said, “Make up your mind”. If I start something without making up my mind, I can easily debate with myself, whether or not to do it. When I want to reach a goal, I need to make up my mind first.

Before 10 years old, I was a weak child.  For instance, once I had to be in bed for 3 months because of a high fever of unknown origins. My father gave me this advice: “Pour cold water over yourself first thing every morning in the bath.” He asked me to start this in the summer and continue for at least 1 year.

I was 10 years old when I decided to try it. It was refreshing and enjoyable when I started it in summer season, but the feelings changed come Autumn. In winter time, I was very nervous in bed every morning.

My father then told me how powerful it is to make up one’s mind. When I had the choice to “pour water” or “not to pour water”, I would suffer because my mind was divided between “to pour and not to pour.” If I could make up my mind, I could just pour water over myself!

At first, I wondered if he was just asking me to show some guts. But then I found out that when I thought about managing somehow to avoid it, everything became painful.  For example, getting undressed made me freeze, and the water felt icy.

Then I was surprised to notice that when I threw away the choice to “not pour water”, I could only choose to “pour water” and it was not that painful. My mind was already made up the night before.

I understood the difference through the experience, and continued it positively.   This way I learned the meaning of “Make up your mind”.

By the following summer, “Make up my mind” had become my good habit, and I did not want to stop it. Actually, I continued it for another 2 years until I went on to junior high school.

This experience of “Making up my mind” became my basic attitude. In my case, it was “pouring water over myself,” but it can be anything for you. The purpose is to have a good habit of “Making up your mind”.

Learning to “Make up your mind!” could be the key to going out into the world.

When you start working as an adult, you need to immediately forget about other choices, and make up your mind. There are many people who cannot throw away the other choices. They tend to wonder when they meet some difficulty, “Is it OK for me to continue this?” or “I might have better choices”. When this happens, they might not be able to overcome difficulties.

After you do your best and try everything, and if you feel that the way is not for you, then you can choose the other way. This is also “Making up your mind”.