When we know our values, we can easily measure whether or not our actions are in accordance with them. Values are the measuring sticks with which we determine the worthiness of our actions. To be better associated with one's own values is to remove a lot of the needless activities of daily life.
Have a clear-cut plan on what you wish to improve, and seek opportunities to improve it. The more conscious and honest we can be about our shortcomings, the more strength we will have to improve them. We are going to train hard anyway, we are not going to sweat any more or less. It is simply imperative that the sweat is properly directed.
The beautiful truth about service is that we are afforded countless opportunities to be its vehicle. Every interaction with another is an opportunity to serve. From simply letting someone into your lane in traffic, to holding a door, to a kind smile. This is all service. I am humbled by this simple truth. We are given the opportunity to express the most meaningful use of our lives every time we interact with another sentient being.
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We must strive to become more daily. We must honestly assess our weaknesses and overcome them. We must work toward the highest possible version of ourselves. This is a worthy use of our time, but it is only when we do so with the ultimate aim of service to our fellow man that we really connect with something greater than ourselves. To contribute to the world in a positive way, this is the gift of life.
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To base your self worth relative to others is to play a losing game. If you are at the bottom, you will be filled with self-loathing. If you are at the top, you will be filled with self-aggrandizement and ego. This will most certainly be one of your greatest obstacles to achieving whatever degree of mastery you are capable.
I believe the real reason we pursue anything in life is not for the thing itself, but for who we become on the way to its accomplishment. We strive to accomplish things in the attempt to mold ourselves. The greatest benefits Jiu Jitsu will have in your life will have nothing to do with Jiu Jitsu. It is this simple understanding that allows me to persist in my study. Even on the rare days when I may not have a burning desire to practice Jiu Jitsu, I am reminded that my practicing Jiu Jitsu is more accurately my practicing to become a better human being. The lessons I learn on the mat will serve me in every area of life- personal development, relationships, business, and the like.
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I believe we must pursue mastery for who we become along the way in its achievement. When we progress in Jiu Jitsu, that newfound experience and wisdom transcends into all areas of our lives. We use Jiu Jitsu as the vehicle for growth, but that growth radiates over all of human activity. Someone who devotes time and energy in learning this skill is learning far more than how to subdue an opponent. The student learns persistence, perseverance, pattern recognition, problem solving, and most importantly, learning how to learn. In the arena of life, these virtues are far more valuable than any guard pass.
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As an instructor, my goal has always been to use Jiu Jitsu as a vehicle to help our students achieve their goals, whatever the case may be. I have yet to find a better vehicle for growth, and the moment I do I will certainly pursue it with the rivaled fervor that I approached Jiu Jitsu.
I am a better son, brother, friend, and teacher because of the daily sacrifice and effort I put toward my craft. WIth all the advantages modern society has created, it has left us wanting. We no longer need to struggle to survive. Our basic needs are now met with minimal physical strife or mental challenge. Technology and the advances of man have left us over-stressed and under-performing. We are now forced to actively pursue our struggles. If we do not go out of our way to stretch our comfort zones and grow, no one nor nature will do it for us.
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Devoting yourself to a particular art is invaluable. The art becomes our vehicle with which we drive down the road of life. We use this vehicle to learn about ourselves and this place, to conquer fears, to become more of what we already are. In my own life, I have found most valuable the transferable skills of learning from jiu jitsu to all other facets of day to day study. In devoting myself with such commitment to this art, in undertaking the task of understanding jiu jitsu to whatever degree by circumstance allows, I have unknowingly learned how to learn.
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