Zen in the Martial Arts by Joe Hyams...

The chapter called Lengthen Your Line is very important. The author is failing to make headway when fighting against more skilled opponents in class. His solution is to be an 'arse'.
The instructor (Ed Parker) asks to speak with him after the lesson.

Ed draws a short line on a piece of paper and asks Joe how to make the line shorter. The author provides a few suggestions.
Ed draws a longer line alongside the first line. Now, the first line looks shorter.

The instructor explains "It is always better to improve and strengthen your own line or knowledge than to try and cut your opponent's line".
Joe realised that in many different areas of his life he was investing a lot of effort attacking other people and trying to make life difficult for them rather than seeking to improve his own skill.

If we take the principle from this story and expand it... 

Consider that your current skill level can be represented by a 2 inch long line. During a lesson Sifu gives you the opportunity to extend that line another inch or two. But do you?
The student who goes home and thinks about the lesson, practices the skills and then applies them will come to the next lesson with a 3 inch line. 
By contrast, others will still have a 2 inch line. 

Which type of student are you?

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