Practice Martial Arts.
Martial Arts is controlled chaos, which allows you to rewire and reinforce your neural pathways for perseverance, problem solving, and self discipline; while simultaneously affording you a better look into “who you are” as a person.
Bias aside (given that I am also a long standing practitioner and teacher of Martial Arts), the Martial Arts are perhaps the only activity which can afford you a great many physical, spiritual and enlightening benefits, less only the cost of showing up to practice. Sure, there’s rugby, basketball, hockey, and even tennis, but each of these pales in comparison to what the Martial Arts can teach and do for you as a person. With team sports, you can always lax a bit, “My teammates will have me covered this round.” While in solo sports, the outcomes are much less dire, "At least I’m not getting kicked in the head!” But in Martial Arts, there is only you and you — and the consequences are real... You are quite literally, "dealing with death".
“Martial Arts is high level problem solving with dire physical consequences.” -Joe Rogan.
We are all warriors by nature. From the time of our own conception, we had each already fought for our spot to be here on this plane of reality. We are a competitive, warring species by nature (just look at our history) — and with that, there is nothing more competitive or warring than narrowly being kicked, punched or even choked unconscious.
Granted, there are other aspects to Martial Arts beyond the physical. Observing the Martial Arts through a more spiritual, if not philosophical lens, the Martial Arts are also a great way to see what you are “made of”. Are you going to quit just before you finish your last hundredth pushup? Are you going to do something really sneaky just to gain the upper hand and win over someone else, mid-competition? Who exactly are you and what will you do just to survive? The Martial Arts can show you this...
When pushed to our extremes, while simultaneously undergoing high levels of stress, we always find out who we are.
A funny story from when I was a child is that I once set my neighbourhood catwalk on fire. Being both culprit and instigator, I was also the first one to run away when I saw what I had done. However, when glancing back to further survey the situation, just to see the entire catwalk being engulfed in flames, something suddenly snapped inside of me and I ran back to swat out the flames!
Do you need to go through such extremes just to find out who and what you are made of? Thankfully, Martial Arts is controlled chaos.
Granted, there are a few drawbacks when it comes to learning Martial Arts. You can have a bad teacher, a bad experience or a bad Academy. But don’t let that deter you from giving it a try! For, the great many benefits gained in practicing Martial Arts heavily outweighs the shortcomings of potentially falling into “cult-y” situations... Just keep a level head and keep pushing forward — you’ll eventually find the right teacher, the right environment, and even the right experience, someday.
Though, that all being said, where does one go when they've understood themselves as far as they could go through the Martial Arts? Well, that’s why Arjuna* turned to Yoga!