What are you doing to better yourself?
It’s a tough question, especially if you’re being brutally honest. Are you the best version of yourself, or the latest? Are you keeping your nose to the grindstone and chugging along, or are you taking steps towards “leveling up” in some way? (Pardon the gaming metaphor, my college roommate was a World of Warcraft fanatic.)
We’re living in the age of self-optimization. I’m sure your Facebook feed, like mine, is littered with articles on self-improvement. Some are extremely insightful (like this one of course), but most are along the lines of “the Top 85 Ways to do Calf Raises.” Very rarely do even the articles of value map out a course, or provide a tangible tool for personal growth. And even if they did, how many people do you know would take massive action on their own?
If you’re waiting for the inspirational lightning bolt to strike in order to become the person you want to be, then take a seat and get comfy. We aren’t wired that way. The hardest part about improving yourself is that it takes action. And I would argue that it isn’t laziness that inhibits action, but uncertainty. The reality is that most would choose unhappiness and underachievement over uncertainty.
I’ve been teaching martial arts for most of my adult life, and I’ve noticed a common theme. People are more afraid of looking dumb than of working hard. I’ve seen people struggle far more with the embarrassment of not tying their belt properly than not being able to do a push up. The truth is this: both of those things are OK. It’s OK to be out of shape in the beginning, and to not understand the mystical workings of the belt knot. It’s even OK to feel more embarrassed about the latter. It’s not OK to embrace the status quo, to underachieve. You owe it to yourself to be better than you were.
So where does Jiu Jitsu come in? Right here. Brazilian Jiu Jitsu is the most powerful and effective tool for personal development and self-optimization on the planet. When you embrace the Jiu Jitsu lifestyle, you forfeit the choice to stay stagnant. You MUST grow, learn and improve. For most people it’s as simple as just showing up, that’s how inherently developmental Jiu Jitsu is. And your calves will look great.
The beauty of the Social Media age is that once you embark on this journey towards black belt, you’ve enlisted the help and support -unknowingly at first- of countless peers. When one of my students misses a few classes, there are four or five messages on his/her Facebook wall from classmates expressing genuine concern. In my academy this often takes the form of a friendly stab, but it’s understood that their heart is in the right place. You’re part of the team and we miss you, so here’s a meme of your face on a milk carton.