Keeping your eye on the way
on MAR. / 23 / 2011 | 0 comments
by Jeremy M. Talbott
I want to start this month’s issue with a famous Zen story. This particular story has been told many different ways. This particular version was taken from “Zen in the Martial Arts” by Joe Hyam, one of my favorite martial art books written.
“A young boy traveled across Japan to the school of a famous martial artist. When he arrived at the dojo he was given an audience by the sensei.
“What do you wish from me?” the master asked.
“I wish to be your student and become the finest karateka in the land,” the boy replied. “How long must I study?”
“Ten years at least,” the master answered.
“Ten years is a long time,” said the boy. “What if I studied twice as hard as all your other students?”
“Twenty years,” replied the master.
“Twenty years! What if I practice day and night with all my effort?”
“Thirty years,” was the master’s reply.
“How is it that each time I say I will work harder, you tell me that it will take longer?” the boy asked.
“The answer is clear. When one eye is fixed upon your destination, there is only one eye left with which to find the Way.””
I recently chatted with a friend on Facebook about the topic of people who were getting swindled by the “get rich quick” schemes. It seems more and more that our American society is allowing the ‘something for nothing’ and ‘instant gratification’ mentalities to invade our way of life. At the dojang, more times than not, I have had parents wondering how soon it will be to become a black belt or when is the soonest their child and promote to the next level because they are becoming bored at the current level.
I have explained many times that I understand that they may be temporarily bored, but we are laying a strong foundation for their next level of learning. Just as a school teacher would teach you to add and subtract, before you learn to multiply. We all want our students and children to succeed in what they do, but do we sacrifice quality of the lesson in lieu of quantity?
Some of the best Presidents and leaders of companies that I have met knew every minute detail about their business. They learned all the intricacies step by step as they grew in their established role as a leader in their chosen occupation. Not one of them applied for a job and then was just given the position of power. They had to work hard, persevere no matter how bored they may have become at some point. The instant gratification and something for nothing mindset needs to be obliterated. Focus on the task at hand and perfect it.
Perseverance is a major key to success not only in martial arts but in our everyday lives. If we were to simply push them to the next level without proper preparation, then they will not only fail at the next level but, when push comes to shove, they may not even be able to defend themselves properly on the street.
Work smart and hard and before you know it, success will be yours.