How do you get a black belt in life and why would you want to?
I was sitting in the cafe pondering on my last few years, and since this month, we are dealing with self esteem and how this either makes or breaks our pleasure and our relationships, I decided to write about getting a black belt in life.
What is a black belt, what is the significance of it? Well, for anyone who has ever participated in any of the Martial Arts, you know that a black belt represents a significant achievement in a respective art form. For the years leading up to and testing for my Black Belt in Taekwondo, I spent many hours contemplating what a black belt meant to me.
And other than the obvious hard work and physical training involved, getting a black belt is all about mindset. Do you have commitment, courage, self-belief, control, persistance, and the ability to be coachable, to take guidance and critique and turn it into the will to be even better? Even more than this, a black belt means facing your fears. You are pushed to the limit, physically and mentally, your fears and weaknesses that you keep hidden from most of the world, will be cast into the fire to be transmuted. If you want to truly earn a black belt, you dig deeper and look these fears and doubts head on.
I struggled to perfect my side kick, the one that pushed my attacker away when I didn’t want them advancing into my space. I got the hip turn, the supporting leg strength, the exact trajectory of the kick perfected, but something still wasn’t working. I lacked commitment, I lacked the 100% belief that ‘no one was going to get past my leg’ and come into my space. I wasn’t sure that I could or would stop them in their tracks.
I cried, I stomped around the gym, I refused to practice that kick anymore, I wanted my training partner to tell me it was ok, I didn’t have to do it full out. He could cover for me, I could just do the kick 75% and make it through.
Long story short, he didn’t.
He didn’t pet my ego, didn’t feed me platitudes about how it was probably good enough. He saw something in me I didn’t see in myself. He saw success, He saw power, and he saw that I could do it, I just had to believe in myself.
He made me angry, on purpose! And then, you know what? I did it! I kicked the pad like I’d never kicked before, I could feel the energy in every cell of my body. I think I even yelled when my foot connected to the pad. I was unstoppable.
So how does that relate to life? What would that look like in everyday terms?
It is that voice that says “get up and finish that last Facebook post even when you find it hard and you’re not in the right place to write.” It’s the voice that tells you to “take a deep breath and shut up and listen to the third kid in a row who is struggling with a problem and needs you for a few minutes, even though you haven’t eaten dinner yet and its 9pm”.
It’s the commitment to show up the best you can to every moment in your day. To let go of why that’s hard, and just do it. Getting your black belt in life is an ongoing training, just like in the martial arts, where a black belt denotes only the beginning of the real work.
What would you do differently right now, if you were being tested for your black belt in life? What if you are being tested? Maybe all the blocks we think are there, aren’t really important. What if you mustered all your energy and power and lived with 100% of YOU.
I’m betting the world would be a different place if we all played full out. And let me just say, the moment that you kick that pad with everything you have, there is no lack of self esteem, no self doubt, no limits. The reality of the present moment is you have a choice to give your all, and I say let’s go for Black Belt level!