Success Is In The Journey, Not The Destination

Have you ever looked forward to something so bad that when it was all over you felt sort of let down? Take Christmas for example. You spend weeks, and sometimes months, shopping and preparing for the big day. You're feeling festive and share Christmas wishes with friends and family during the pre-Christmas rush. Then on Christmas day, when all the presents have been opened, all the food has been eaten, and all the friends and family have gone home, you sink back and think, “Big deal…” Your anticipation of the day was greater than the day itself. You had more fun during the weeks of preparation than the few hours that was actually Christmas. Thus proving that the success of Christmas does not lie in the destination, but rather in the journey it takes to get there.

As for the martial arts, I think next to “What time is it?” the most common question asked of any instructor is, “How long will it take me to get my black belt?” To the uninitiated this is a fair question, but my answer is always the same. “How long do you have?” I ask. “Do you just want the black belt itself, or do you want the skill that goes with it? Are you looking to do the martial arts for the short term, or do you think you might like to pursue it as a hobby, lets say for the rest of your life?” “Oh!” they exclaim proudly. “For the rest of my life!” “Then,” I say. “It doesn't matter.”

Getting your black belt, not unlike graduating high school or college, is the total sum of all that has gone on before that day. It's not the day itself that's important, but rather the time spent with teachers and friends, learning and enjoying the experiences along the way. True success is measured moment to moment, not by a single event that may or may not happen years from now.

Personally I've never understood those people who discount four years of wonderfully successful individual days of training to look forward to only one day – graduation day, the day they get their black belt. They're like those people who hate Mondays, call Wednesdays ‘hump day', and proclaim on the fifth day, “Thank God it's Friday!” They spend five days looking forward to only two.

You are a martial artist. Regardless of your knowledge or physical skill level, beginner or advanced, you're doing it. You are a successful martial artist.

Success is in the journey, not the destination.

Till next time, stay sharp.

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