My journey

In Brazilian jiu-jitsu there is a belt system, a hierarchy, there are levels. From white belt, to stripes, through to the various colours ascending to a black belt.

Last night I was awarded 2 stripes on my white belt, I have officially taken two steps up the ladder. Progress was made.

Progress and how you measure it is interesting and fascinating all at the same time though.

As humans we tend to like to have big destinations to aim for.

In fitness it could be a specific clothes size, a particular fitness goal, in BJJ, for some, its the next promotion to the next belt.

It shows us that we have progressed, that we’re doing ok, the right things are being hit and we are a little better today than we were when we started.

However, the things is with BJJ, it’s the same as strength training, fitness, health, movement ability – there isn’t really an end point.

There are key markers to aim for, but there is no end destination so don’t focus so much on the pot at the end of the rainbow as you travel along the way.

Embrace the journey, enjoy the journey.

Even as a black belt you’ve only just passed basic training and are competent in a lot of things, there’s still a whole world of things to learn, develop, practice and attain. You haven’t “arrived” or reached an end point.

Even as a high level athlete or the owner of a high level stage ready physique – there are things to improve, develop and practice.

At first this concept baffles people, demotivates them and makes them think, “well, there is no end destination, so what’s the point?”

When people focus on the smaller goals and milestones along the way it makes that longterm progression so much easier to attain and so much easier to understand.

Setting key markers, breaking them down, striving to be better, holistically, every day, in every way then you can get on with making progress instead of setting sights on something so far away that even when you get there you’ll find another step to progress, another goal, another thing to strive for anyway.

If I set myself a high focus on one day being a black belt, I’ll miss the point of BJJ completely and not progress as well, enjoy it as much, or learn as deeply.

Instead I try to learn daily, practice regularly and improve as best I can.

Once you embrace that there isn’t always a final “end” destination you can start to enjoy the journey, enjoy the car ride along the way.

You can take a look out of the windows and enjoy the scenery instead of just focussing on what time you’ll arrive at the end point you typed into the sat nav.

Set longterm goals but remember, they will never be final.

Set short term goals and strive to reach those, take a look out of the window along the way and enjoy the ride or you’ll just break down along the way.

Written by: John Clark

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