We have unfortunately become a society of instant gratification. Most people feel that their efforts in building their dreams or achieving their goals should be paid off in a couple of years, or months, or even days. If we can’t see results quickly then it must not be working correctly. Why do you think diet pills and fad diets sell so well? Fast results, minimum effort, well at least in the beginning, but then we all know how it usually turns out. As soon as you have to invest some time, effort, and discipline, well then those pills and diets just don’t seem to work as well anymore.
I was once asked by a parent of a potential student the most common of questions in the martial arts, “How long until he can get a black belt?” I simply told the parent that it could take him a life time to achieve a black belt. After a couple of seconds of looking at me as though I should be locked up in an insane asylum, the parent stated that the student’s friend studies at another school and he was able to get his black belt in two years. I told the parent that if just getting the black belt in the fastest time possible is the main goal, then that school is probably the best choice. I also told the parent that if all he all they wanted was to claim their kid has a black belt then they could just go online and buy one.
It seemed that the main concern was the time and effort that would have to be invested, not the actual content what was being taught, nor if what was being taught was being understood and executed correctly. Those of us who have been in martial arts for a while know that in order to achieve advancement in martial arts you have to work at it minute by minute, hour by hour, day by day, month by month, year by year. You do not earn a black belt after a few classes.
“How long does it take to get a black belt?” This question amazes me because I have yet to hear of a baseball coach ever telling me he was asked “How long before I can play for the Chicago Cubs?” It makes me wonder if these same people apply for a job and then asked the potential employer, “How long before I can be a CEO of the company?” I would think that would be one of the quickest ways to hear the employer yell “NEXT!”
Success is based on staying focus on the task at hand and mastering that task and then move on to the next one. Not only that, but you need to also be aware of other tasks that are relevant to your position and not neglect them because “that’s not my job”. Martial arts teach these traits in our everyday training. As a martial artist we must keep up with all aspects of our training even though we may not like all aspects. Before we know it, that all elusive black belt just appears.
It is easy to become tired and frustrated in our journeys to success. There are many times we will feel overwhelmed and even feel that we may never reach our peak. It is at that time we need to take a step off the path and just be. Take the time to reflect on where we are and realize how far we have come without even knowing it. Then step back on your path with a renewed spirit and continue forward to accomplish what you have started. Many people ask for the doors of opportunity to be opened, but very few ever make the effort to just turn the knob themselves.