“What do you want to be when you grow up?”
The perennial question continues to be passed down through the generations. (Perhaps I’ll figure it out when I grow up.) Joking aside, each of us should take the time to ask ourselves this legitimate, and vital, query. The first step in getting anywhere is deciding where we’re headed.
Begin with the end in mind.
In his seminal work, The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People, Stephen Covey asks us to consider our own funeral. If there were to be four speakers from different spheres of your life, i.e. family, friends, professional, and community, what would you like them to say about you?
“Now think deeply. What would you like each of these speakers to say about you and your life? What kind of husband, wife, father or mother would you like their words to reflect? What kind of son or daughter or cousin? What kind of friend? What kind of working associate?
What Character would you like them to have seen in you? What contributions, what achievements would you want them to remember? Look carefully at the people around you. What difference would you like to have made in their lives?”
– Stephen R. Covey, (1989)
This exercise can help us recognize the root of our character, and what is truly important to us. Ultimately, this is our life’s work – our destination. All of our other goals, whether related to family, fame, or fortune, should align with this conceptualization of who we want to be.
We can apply this to our BJJ training as well. The body of knowledge within the grappling arts is dauntingly broad, and can leave one feeling lost or inadequate to the task. However, taking the time to apply the same questions that Covey suggests to our life on the mat can help give us direction in how to proceed in our training. What kind of student/training partner/teacher/competitor would you like people to remember you as?
Success becomes a matter of making a good plan and putting in the work necessary to get where we’re headed. We just have to decide where it is we wish to go. We must begin with the end in mind.
“Life is so strange, when you don’t know your destination.”Missing Persons, 1982.
See you on the mat.
Covey, Stephen R. The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People: Restoring the Character Ethic. Simon and Schuster, 1989.