Thinking occupies the mind and gives us a sense of control. But our energy remains unengaged, and so we are anything but in control. It is the contention of taiji that the body and the energy have their own intelligences and sensitivities, which come into play only when the mind is relaxed and quiet. Such relaxation is the opposite of "pulling yourself together," it is relaxing the mind apart from itself, from thinking, and letting it become the energy it is. It then simply fills the body, which wakens, energized and fresh and, wonder of wonders, natural: soft, gentle, loving and totally connected.
If a student didn't feel destined for this work then they wouldn't do it, certainly not for the length of time it takes. The bummer is that such feelings make the work that much longer. This means that those that succeed make good teachers, largely because they've made all the mistakes. As teachers they then need the sense of humour to accept that, despite their experience, their students inevitably will, and probably need to, make the same mistakes.
Having a root means that you are comfortable sinking all you are through your legs and into the Earth. It seems to require physically strong legs, but it is more the mental strength to accept that you are nothing more than that root. Any desire to be special, any feelings of inflated self-worth, and the legs will push up into your chest. A heart at peace is not just an empty heart, but a connected heart, content to be simply channel. A humility that inevitably comes when real life rubs against you for any length of time.
If youth is the time when you have the energy to party all night, then old age should be the time when you have the energy to work all night. The time in between is the time it takes to learn how to access such energy. Obviously this work is not hard physical labour, rather it is simple connexion – staying connected – serving the connexion.