Each of us has the capacity for growth – physically, mentally, and emotionally. Our extraordinarily elastic brains enable us to learn astrophysics and organic chemistry. We can develop astounding depths of expression, painting The Birth of Adam, or singing Nessun dorma. Our adaptable bodies can be chiseled into the most powerful weightlifter or graceful ballerina. Nonetheless, we don’t all become an Arthur Eddington, Marie Curie, or Michelangelo. Out of the 8 billion inhabitants on our planet, there is only one Lucciano Pavarotti, Dave Hoff, and Misty Copeland. Still, each of us has the potential for success, if we’re willing to do the work.
Stepping on the mat at Werneck Jiujitsu, you’ll find yourself training alongside world class athletes honing their craft, and professional desk jockeys looking to get in better shape. You’ll meet students and their families, representing different creeds, colors, backgrounds, education, and socioeconomic statuses. There are young folks training twice a day, and more “seasoned” adults who do their best to attend twice a week. We humans are a diverse lot, each with our own set of circumstances, desires, and capabilities. This plethora of internal traits and external factors obviously plays a role in the very diverse outcomes of our training, just as it does in our daily lives.
The good news is none of them dictate conclusively how it’ll all turn out. None are as consistently decisive as our will. No amount of inheritance, good genes, or schooling can make up for being unwilling to do the hard work of making one’s dreams a reality. Make no mistake, just like life, BJJ is hard. It requires us to accept our individual agency and not waste our time and energy blaming outside forces. It demands we push outside of our comfort zones, question our closest held beliefs about who we are, and acknowledge our strengths, weaknesses, and limitations. It forces us to recognize and break our bad habits. It often means sacrifice or adjusting our priorities, and inevitably it necessitates concerted effort over a long period of time. But it is worth every ounce of effort.
Ultimately, the people who achieve their goals are those who are willing to grind it out. From Arthur Eddington to Misty Copeland, this diverse group of extraordinary individuals have one thing in common with every person who has experienced sustained success in life: they each invested immense amounts of time and energy in their craft. Whether one is aspiring to achieve better fitness, a black belt, a gold medal, or just live a happier, healthier life, be the one out of one hundred who succeed.
Just keep showing up!