We all want to get ahead, whether in life or in our respective craft. As a kid, how good did it feel to be first a race, win a board game or get the most answers right on a test? This is the benefit of friendly competition or just competition in general. It does wonders for our confidence, problem solving abilities and the release of chemicals in our brain like seratonin and dopamine that make us feel good. As humans we biologically are designed to do such, and competing and winning is what spelt out our survival as a species and furthermore, advancement as a civilization. This is one of the many significant realities of training BJJ for middle aged people, it fosters an environment for competitiveness in a what can be described as an incredibly intimate physical and mental setting, perpetuating the widely used colloquialism “physical chess”. How often do you hear of adults in their thirties and forties arm wrestling, racing down the streets and having fun like kids? We all know that as you age, it gets harder to do play and have fun the way you used to, especially for those with high mileage on their body. In Jiu Jitsu however, I see people of all ages come together and experience the benefits of healthy competition in a distinct social setting. Unless of course, they can’t hack it and quit or refuse to show up to class. I am always bewildered to know that my seventy year old parents can consistently show up to class two to three times a week while your average twenty to thirty year old struggles to take another step on the journey they started. Honestly, it is hard to know whether I should be impressed with my parents or depressed for future generations knowing that their parents are supposed to teach them about a level of commitment that they themselves seem to lack. This is another benefit of families training, you can’t be mad if your kid decides to follow your example and quit or vice versa.
In my small and confined world of training and BJJ or Martial Arts, one of the things I do on occasion is give a student or client my time in the form of a private lesson. I will say that this is something that I am currently moving away from, choosing to work in larger groups for scale and cost effectiveness reasons but nonetheless whenever I do find the time, I am more than happy to help said student or athlete get out of pain, solve a problem or develop a plan of action that is based on their goals. Having worked with hundreds of people over the past fifteen years or so, it has brought me to an interesting conclusion. The majority of people, do not want to put in the work needed to reach their goals. It has in fact impressed upon me that their goal is somewhat illusory and based on what they think should be their goal. For example if I said my goal was to lose weight and have a six pack to show for it but I couldn’t stop eating an excessive amount of sugar or having ice cream every night, you might conclude that I a) didn’t take my goal very seriously or b) was deceiving myself. While this notion might seem foreign to some of you who find accomplishment to be your drug of choice, the majority of people do not seem to correlate time spent working on skill to progress or achieve success. This is evident when you hear people say they want to become millionaires while looking for any excuse to party, play video games and abstain from reading a book. This is not a judgement on their lifestyle choice, rather an observation that many are failing to connect the dots that would lead to being truly satisfied and consequently turn to drugs and alcohol to shield themselves from the reality that they have created for themselves. Napoleon Hill in Think and Grow Rich elaborates on how these people have failed to adopt the mindset of “burning the ships” and going all in on their goals. This mindset of no turning back is pivotal in terms of learning to commit your being to achieving something. Achieving my black belt in Jiu Jitsu was the The first time I had experienced following something all the way through, and it took over a decade to do it. Now I aspire to apply that same energy and creativity towards what I care about like business or my relationships.
There’s the overused saying that eighty or ninety percent of success is just showing up which in my estimation is totally and one hundred percent false, rather it is the baseline for those who want anything even a hairline beyond mediocrity. Open a business and just show up every day.. See what happens. The reality is that it is an endless pursuit of evolution and self development with the ultimate result being the highest level of satisfaction you could possibly provide a customer. Why someone with the goal of becoming a black belt wouldn’t consistently go to class two times, hell, even once a week is besides me. Not only are there a plethora of positive chemical reactions that follow it but the shown ability of training in terms of accomplishment, self confidence, overall mood or just being a person who won’t fold up like a cheap suit the second an ounce of danger befalls them. You would think it’s fairly simple, yet I stand corrected. Or so I make up. I love the saying “success is simple, it isn’t easy”. It points out how many decisions aren’t beyond one’s intelligence whatsoever, yet the main limiting factor is discipline. Recognize that the bare minimum is following through on what you committed to and if you can do that consistently, not only will you be on the right path but you will build a foundation that will allow you to achieve greater and greater levels of development during your pursuit of your best self.