Pause, Reflect, and Move Forward
on FEB. / 07 / 2012 | 0 comments
I remember a day when a student was showing humongous disinterest in participating in class. I blew it off with thinking that perhaps he had a bad day at school or had some other activity he was anxious to get to. The next day at class, I witnessed the same attitude and then again on the next day. This specific student always came in excited to learn and always seemed to have fun; he was fast becoming one of our best forms and weapons competitor, as well as climbing the ranks in fighting, so the sudden change was a bit disturbing. At the end of the class, I asked him to sit down with me to chat. I began with the usual questions: “Is everything ok at school? Are you having problems at home? Did someone beat up your favorite teddy bear?” I usually ask that last one to put a smile on their face and help them open up a bit more.
He finally opened up to tell me that he felt that he was stagnant in his learning and that he would never reach a black belt. I asked him why he would think such a thing and he went on to say that he just looked over the requirements for the next testing and then testing after that and it just seemed overwhelming, that he would never be able to learn all those things. I had to admit I chuckled at the explanation, but not because I was laughing at him, but because I said almost the exact same thing many years ago when I was at his rank. I told him to hold on for a second while I grabbed my laptop because I wanted him to show him something.
He waited while I pulled up two files that I kept of students and tournaments. The first file was a picture of him as a very young and very new white belt. “Do you remember this?” I asked.
“Yes. It was like 2 or 3 years ago,” he replied. Without saying anything, I then showed him a clip of him doing his first form at a tournament. He rolled his eyes and moaned at it. I then told him that this was not 2 or 3 years ago, but only a little over a year ago. He looked shocked. “Really?” he asked.
“Yes, really,” I answered. I then told him that the curriculum he has learned up until now was far more than what he would have to learn in order to reach a black belt. I reminded him on how far he had gotten and to give up now would be a waste of all the time and energy he spent on getting to where he was now. With that, he smiled and then left for the day. The next time in class the fire was relit under his eyes and still is today.
It is easy to become tired and frustrated in our journeys to success. There are many times we will feel overwhelmed and even feel that we may never reach our peak. It is at that time we need to take a step off the path and just be. Take the time to reflect on where we are and realize how far we have come without even knowing it. Then step back on your path with a renewed spirit and continue forward to accomplish what you have started.