Thursday, October 27, 2011

What does it take?

If you were to ask me, "What does it take to succeed?", I would only be able to give you an educated guess and tell you my own experience in life.  Though only time will tell if my thoughts and ideas are sound, I have a pretty good idea what the future is holding in store for me.  To date all I have to show for my interest in BJJ is a lot of tournaments that I didn't do very well in, a rapidly dwindling savings account,  and more recently a double bronze medal at the 2011 Miami Open.  I've been training basically full time since February and going from not placing in local tourneys to 3rd place at an IBJJF Open tourney is definitely a step in the right direction.  An old saying tells us that " The journey of 1,000 miles begins with a single step", and we must realize the true genius that lies within this simple quote.  All great achievement that ever has, and ever will be written into the pages of history starts with one simple thing... An idea.

Most people have lots of ideas:  crazy ideas, good ideas, bad ideas, small ideas, big ideas, wishes, dreams, hopes, and prayers.  What makes the difference though?  Why do most people fail to ever unlock their potential while only a few ever achieve greatness?  These questions can be answered easily enough if we look at what it actually TAKES to achieve success.

As stated before every success starts as a idea.  Some ideas are bad ideas, and we throw them quickly to the wayside never to be thought of again.  Some ideas are tangible and so we pursue them further.  Here is where the difference lies... When an idea is born it usually starts as a hope or a dream, but with a definite plan (goals and daily action towards their attainment), and intense desire we can make even the craziest idea (within reason) become a reality.  In every life there comes a time of great decision where we can decide to follow our dreams and our passions, or we enter "the real world".  What starts out as a idea, becomes a plan, it becomes an obsession, and if you decide not to accept failure then you have already won, this is not to say we will never fall short.  We will fall short on a very frequent basis, but remember that the only way to fail is to quit.

I have lost many tournaments.  There is a fine line between accepting failure and embracing it as a learning experience, for example:  Though at the Miami Open I intended upon getting first place I got third place.  Though not pleased or content with bronze, I immediately looked at why I lost and tried to take a lesson out of it.  Instead of being beaten because I lost, I am excited because I was able to learn valuable lessons from my defeat.  My defeat instantly showed me things that I need to improve on in my game and ultimately I will be a better Jiu-Jitsu player because I lost.  No matter how hard things get, no matter how many people tell you that you are crazy, now matter how many times you fall down, if you stay focused on your goals and keep working hard for their attainment you will succeed.

So what DOES it take to succeed?
1) an idea
2) desire
3) a realistic plan (start with small goals, then lead to larger goals, and eventually to the ultimate goal)
4) persistence (never accepting failure, and knowing every failure brings with equivalent opportunity)
5) a mind closed tightly to all negative influence (worldly desires, negative opinions, any obstacles)
6) self control (the ability to stick with routine, and set goals with definitive deadlines)
7) the ability to constantly examine yourself (look at yourself and be honest are you doing what you need to?)
8) faith that you will achieve your goal (you have to believe in yourself)
9) hard work (no one is going to do the job for you)

I'll tell you, from first hand experience, this isn't easy.  Sure these principles can be applied to anything, including work, improved fitness, or any kind of general improvement of your life, not everyone chooses to dedicate their entire existence towards one goal, that's okay.  I spend on average 4-6 hours per day 5 days per week training, this includes: Class, weights, drills, and sparring.  This does not include drive time, watching BJJ videos, meditation, stretching, or visualization.  For the Miami Open I was training 5-7 hours per day 5 days per week.  I have used up all of my savings and every month I get closer to the red barely scraping by on the bills.  I never get to spend time with my wife and this puts a lot of strain on our new marriage.  I don't get to have a lot of things I would like to have or even need: clothes, a new laptop, MP3 players, work on my car, and trips home to see family.  I have to sacrifice everything a normal person would have in life and all the pain, and suffering is worth it, because I know one day I will look back at a life well lived.  I will never say what if.  I will never wipe a tear from my eye while I tell my grandchildren what I could have been.

This applies to anything in life... Don't ever let anyone every tell you you CAN'T do something in life!  You are the author of your destiny and only you can chose what path you take in life.  Many people chose the path of least resistance, some become happy, and others always wonder what could have been.  I know one thing, that following your dream is NEVER the easiest path and many people who chose not to fail, know this...You cannot fail unless you give up.  Many of the greatest achievements in mankind's history were believed to be impossible...until someone proved EVERYONE wrong.  You have the power within you decide to have anything from life that you wish, all you have to do is reach out and take it.

If you like this article you may enjoy reading Think and Grow Rich by Napoleon Hill.  You can find it for free as a PDF online or even download it as an app on your phone, and I recommend that everyone read this book at least twice, then you will never want to stop reading it!


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