The following is a recent Reddit post from Nicolas Gregoriades. For those who are not familiar with Nic, he was the first person to receive a Black Belt from the legendary Roger Gracie. He has worked closely with a number of other prolific black belts, produces podcasts & high quality Jiu-jitsu content and has founded the Jiu-Jitsu Brotherhood.
I was fortunate enough to meet and train with Nic in Thailand a few years ago. As a key influence in my own BJJ journey (and fellow South African), I always find Nic’s words inspiring, honest and something to reflect on. This is a great look at Nic’s journey so far and gives a rare, well articulated, insight into what the journey through BJJ looks like.
I read an interesting quote last week that caused me to reflect on the way we invest our time and effort into an activity. The quote was Jiu-jitsu related, however I think it applies to any pursuit we have:
“Jiu-jitsu is like a bank; the more you put in the more you can take out.”
On the surface, this quote seems pretty simple at first, but the more I reflected on this, the more it made me think about the investments we make into our chosen pursuits. The more time and effort we invest into something, the more we are able to take from it and the more it will come to serve us. In this article I will reflect on this idea, as well as discuss the idea of our time and effort as a form of currency.
As a bit of a bonus, I’ve added some thoughts at the end regarding Cognitive Dissonance for those of you who are interested in how this concept may affect our perceptions of our time invested and our improvement.
Many people are not willing to start learning something new because they dislike the idea of looking like a beginner. The cycles of learning never change and always deals in certainties: Mastery is a lifelong pursuit and we are all beginners when we start anything. These are both topics I’ve discussed before in previous articles, however I would like to explore the concept of The Eternal Apprentice; once we have started something new, how can we adopt a mindset that allows us to continue pursuing mastery? I’d like to coin the phrase, The Eternal Apprentice, to describe this mindset.
We all face challenges on a day to day basis, how we respond to them is essentially the largest shaping factor in our lives. Do we step up to the challenges presented to us? Or do we back away?
Facing your challenges is the only hope you have to build resilience within yourself. Embrace challenges because of their difficulty and you will find yourself desiring greater and greater challenges. The rewards are not immediately obvious when we face unfamiliar challenges, yet they are still present; hiding beneath the surface. They are also much, much larger than you may imagine. When you finally complete your task & overcome your set of challenges, a change takes place in your mind. Your confidence grows, your belief in yourself is reinforced. When you complete what you set out to do, you affirm yourself and your desires to achieve.
Think about the most memorable days of your life so far. Chances are they were the days where you were challenged and you overcame. The best days of your life are not the meaningless, easy and inconsequential ones; the best days are the ones that presented you with stress, nerves, challenges and made you question yourself.
We, as human beings, have been impacted more so by conflict than any other factor. Our entire biology has been influenced by it; our minds and our bodies have evolved to deal with conflict and solve problems.
Put yourself to the test: Embrace Challenge. To reject challenge is to reject living life.
Think about the thing you’re really passionate about- that thing that gets you out of bed in the morning. No one would argue that you’re dedicated, you work hard and orient your life around it. But what sacrifices are you willing to make for it?
Chances are high that you already make some sacrifices for it. You dedicate and sacrifice your free time, if it’s a physical pursuit you sacrifice your body’s well being at times too. When you look forward and you picture yourself still committed to your passion in five, ten, fifteen years from now what sacrifices do you anticipate you will have to make for it? You’re going to have to sacrifice more time; time with friends and family, time that you may want to use for other things. You’re going to have to sacrifice even more of your well being (physically and mentally). Some of these sacrifices could completely change your life. So anticipate them and ask yourself: are you willing to make them?
If you are not willing to sacrifice for your chosen pursuit, you are not pursuing the right thing. Only your true passion- your calling in life- will make you feel willing to sacrifice endlessly for it. Your passion should be the driving force in your life, so why would you only half dedicate yourself to it? Think about those at the highest echelons of human achievement; they did not get there by compromising or by holding back. Sacrifice is the price demanded by success, make sure you are willing to pay the price.
Developing strategy and building pathways to success is important. Whether you’re creating a game plan to win a game of chess, finding the fastest way to submit your opponent or planning to create a piece of art, you need to build an effective pathway towards that end goal.