Success is There So Take It

by Marc Winitz

Success doesn’t come easily but it is there for the taking if you want it. I first learned this principle stepping out onto the dojo floor as a white belt at the age of sixteen. After 2 or 3 classes I pretty much thought I knew what I was doing. In my mind I was throwing punches like the black belts were, so I thought I was ready to be one of them. Although I didn’t realize I would need to put in the work to punch like they did, it didn’t stop me from trying to act like them.

One night in class after watching the black belts perform our sensei (teacher) said “if you can go up in front of everyone and punch like the black belts just did, we’ll pin a black belt on you as well”. So I and several other white belts ran up to the front of the class and tried to imitate them. I took the statement literally and did the performance but no black belt came. I didn’t realize it at the time but my instructor was seeding the principle of success.

Often success is right in front of you, but you just need to decide to see it and take it.

The One Thing Between You and Success
After years of teaching karate I have come to realize that most people really are afraid of success, even successful people. I have seen the successful business person come in and lose all confidence in himself on the dojo floor. And generally speaking this boils down to one problem: fear of the unknown.

Most of us have difficulty visualizing how things should be once we are successful. And since we can’t see it ourselves it is difficult to model that behavior. In the karate world a black belt simply serves as a milestone of success – it’s not an end, just a marker. But that symbol can apply to anything such as:

–         Getting your next promotion to advance your career

–         Working for a college degree

–         Achieving a certification

–         Becoming proficient in a hobby or activity

Your Mindset Matters
The most important thing is to decide what it is you want, and then go after it. To be clear, I am not talking about goal setting. That is a tactical function. What I mean is that you put yourself in the mindset of stating that you want to achieve a specific level of success and then take the necessary actions (set goals and deal with setbacks) to achieve success.

How you get to success can take several forms. Many people make a plan. In the business world the motto is plan “your work and then work your plan”. Certainly easy to digest advice and it works as I and others do this all the time professionally. However some undertakings don’t require a plan, they just require commitment to go after something, regardless of how you get there. In any case, if you are going to be successful you have to internalize that you want success regardless of how much or little you know about what that looks like. It doesn’t just happen.

The Transition Point
In the karate dojo the plan to achieving a black belt is somewhat made for you already. And typically a lot of people are involved in helping you succeed. Don’t get me wrong, you are working hard, running into walls and dealing with the highs and lows of training and progress all the while keeping yourself motivated as I have written about here. But at the end of the day, those that succeed move from a point of “Can I do really do this” to “I can do this” or “I am doing this”. It is at that turning point where the necessary elements come together for success and they include:

  • Confidence in yourself
  • Your willingness to move forward through any obstacle to make progress
  • Seeing in yourself that you are good enough to succeed
  • Internalizing that you are successful – however that is defined for you

All of those points are wrapped around a statement my instructor told me and numerous others that have trained. “Decide when you are ready and then go for it. Take the obi (belt) off the waist of another black belt and it is yours”. It’s a figurative statement but the point is that whether you believe in yourself and are ready or someone else tells you its time to get yourself to a new level you pretty much are already doing it.

Take It Already
Success only comes with hard work, commitment, setting goals, dealing with failures and continually pushing yourself to move forward. However, achieving success is right there in front of you. You just have to be in the right frame of mind to see it and grab it.

Thanks for training with me.

Photo credit courtesy of Koen Cobbaert.

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