One of humanity’s greatest strengths is our diversity. Through our diversity in thought and action, we continue to grow as a species. In the vast ocean of human understanding, we are continually looking at new ideas, re-evaluating the old, all the while striving to find the best answers to our questions. This environment has fostered an ever-increasing understanding of the world around us, bringing us from the stone-age, through the rise and fall of many societies and political empires, through the dark ages and industrial revolution, and eventually, sometimes kicking and screaming, into the 21st century.
While we acknowledge, with perhaps a bit of awe, the full breadth of the human tapestry, we can also identify those few we would wish to emulate. With a cursory look on any given day, one can witness highly successful people, and people struggling to make ends meet. We see folks seemingly without a care in the world, while others appear to be carrying the weight of the world on their shoulders. There are those who flourish in social circles, and outliers panhandling on street corners.
The success of others isn’t something to be jealous of, but rather, it should provide us an opportunity to recognize the traits and skills that lead to success, and then make those same habits our own. Whatever one’s goals may be, surely there is another out there who has accomplished some similar type of success. Seek them out and follow their lead. In fact, surround yourself with like-minded people, individuals who have the same goals, the same passion, the same drive. Such a group nourishes each individual, feeding their passion, and helping remain focused on the task at hand.
Surrounding yourself with like-minded peers is a really vital tool to success, for there are plenty of people who will try to dissuade you from pursuing you dreams. People will try to convince you it’s not possible, that you’re crazy for trying, or will simply question why you would work so hard, and sacrifice so much. Listen to these voices long enough, and you might start questioning yourself. Other like-minded, goal-oriented peers provide a safe-haven from all of the nay-sayers.
Brazilian Jiu Jitsu, in this regard, is a perfect corollary for life. The folks who train come from all walks; every creed, race, and sex – however, none of that matters. The common bond is a passion for being the best we can be in our chosen art, regardless how difficult. And it is really difficult. It takes a tremendous amount of time and effort. We sacrifice time away from our families, suffer injuries, and struggle through the occasional plateaus. People who see our bruises, rashes, and taped fingers question our sanity when we try to explain what it is we do.
Let them ask. Try to inspire them to join the quest, and become part of our like-minded group, our team. Smile and nod your head when they imply you’re crazy. Then get back to the mat – come back home. We’ll all be there, and we know what you’re after. We’ll help you get it, just as we know you’ll help us.
See you all on the mat.
p.s. Congratulations to all the competitors from this past weekend’s Submission Pro Tour tournament in Sacramento. Win, lose, or draw, you all represented our schools well, and we are proud of your efforts. Pictured above is Mitchell Torres claiming the Gold!