At the end of our kempo classes, we frequently wrap up by standing in a circle and saying “I’m glad I came.” Truth be told, there are many times when going to class takes a lot of effort. When I was coming up through the ranks, there were times I would get frustrated at how quickly other people would catch on while I struggled. Or an injury would slow me down. Sometimes it seemed to be too much and there was more than once that I thought it would be easier to chuck it all and stay home to watch the TV that night. But there was a lesson from Grandmaster Buell that always stuck in my head.
“A black belt is just a white belt that never quit.”
So I would turn off the TV and drag my carcass down to class. And by the end of class, the stinkin’ thinkin’ that almost kept me home was long gone. I’d be covered with sweat and exhausted but would think “I’m glad I came“. And step by step, I kept progressing. Sometimes slowly, sometimes quickly but always with a goal in mind.
These days, those thoughts of quitting are long gone. If I’ve had a bad day at work or I’m not feeling well, I don’t think that I’d be better off to stay home. Instead, I know that the best cure for me is to get to class and work hard with like-minded people. I don’t even have to wait until the end of class before my mood changes. As soon as I kneel down and tie my belt, I’m able to say “I’m glad I came.”
Whatever your goal – black belt, losing ten pounds, running a marathon or getting a college degree – there will be times when it will seem easier to give up. And in the short run maybe it will be easier. But if you stick it out, you’ll be glad you did.