Is finishing first always your mantra? If you think there is always an outside reward for doing so, life will sure tell you other wise. Sometimes those rewards are only self gratifying but other times you gain publicity for certain accomplishments. We all have participated in some type of sporting event or general event that classifies you as a winner, 2nd place, 3rd place and etc. My point in writing this article is to share a few things that I have learned about this statement. I feel people give up at times temporarily and need a pick up. I am no different than you. Sorry to break your heart. 🙂
Insert Brief Childhood Story Here
Growing up I was very timid and a shy individual. Today people would be astonished that was the case. My home life was a bit rattled with domestic violence and alcohol through what seemed every weekend. I am slightly embarrassed to now publicly say that was our childhood for a period of time. That in itself doesn't determine you as a person nor does that say your parents can not be changed progressing their life forward. Starting in 3rd or 4th grade my dad wanted me to start Boxing down at the community center. Unfortunately that was not in the plans due to some issue that night but we made our way over to a smaller group in the next building doing Kenpo Karate. For the next 4 years or so until my parents officially divorced and we moved, I cherished every Tuesday and Thursday evening.
My First Lesson in Winning
Being a little scrawny kid had it's advantages at times but I learned quickly that to get better at my craft I had to put in more work than my classmates. I wasn't blessed to be naturally gifted where I didn't have to try as hard to achieve similar results. I didn't miss one practice or event; I was extremely focused on being the best. I would come in 1-2 hours early before practice started to warm up and practice my techniques I was learning with the goal of graduating to my next belt. This continued the whole time. I really didn't have anyone in my life that showed me that work ethic but it felt like the right thing to do.
Unlike Tawkwondo, Kenpo was a bit more in depth and harder to get to your black belt status. We had two twin brothers join our group who were 2nd degree black belts in Tawkwondo but we'd whoop them up and down the floor being much less in the belt ranks. I don't think they had a similar work ethic but it wasn't always about “the belt rank” but more it was about your determination and how that one song goes “..puttin in work”.
I tried so hard to make my father proud of me that our instructor Norman Harris asked him to not attend the training sessions anymore. He felt it was hampering me a bit and he was right (only looking back did I see this). I started to blossom and all that hard work paid off as my 2nd or 3rd tournament more than a year later I finally won a first place trophy! Neither of my parents ever saw any of these accomplishments which today makes me sad, frankly. Now, I did everything in those previous two tourneys but I didn't finish in the top three. I was pretty disappointed because I felt I put the time in… I should have taken home the bacon.
As time progressed I added many more trophies and medals to my award bucket and my confidence, discipline, and determination grew. It wasn't easy and nor should this be sugar coated like many stories. I got my ass whipped one time at at tournament by a kid that had to be a man child for his age. He was easily a 1.5 ft taller than me and had legs as long as a mile it seemed like. I hung in there but found myself down 3 points to him. I didn't win that match but I was very mad that I couldn't overcome the situation. That is when I really felt that my simple strategy where I had to out work every person that was involved to master my craft.
To this day, Mr Harris continues to run his class. I feel very honored to know that my story of dedication and hard work is shared by Mr. Harris with people of all ages to give them motivation. I remember when I learned of this I felt honored that what I was just doing for myself resonated to others and was used to help motivate people all around. Your actions affect others. Don't be fooled.
Who Do You Want To Be In LIfe
I had started writing this post before I saw this video below. Sometimes in life finishing first doesn't mean huge rewards or big gains. I leave you with a little something – something from the man himself! Look, if you don't work out or want to be like him… you're missing the point. He overcame odds, had a language barrier, and he didn't listen to anyone except himself (mentors) due to his determination. That is what finishing first brings you, accomplishment. A sense of being and NO ONE can take that away from you!
You can't climb the ladder of success with your hands in your pockets.
Video Link: http://youtu.be/vH0nP4NzS9M