Words by @joelgerson
– One of my white belts approached me last night, frustrated because he felt like he wasn’t any good. He had just been partnered with a much more athletic, younger white belt who had been drubbing him for the past 10 minutes. “Calculus and algebra came easily to me, but this doesn’t. Maybe I’m not suited for it.”
I had to explain to him that natural ability is a personal and relative quality and the student he is now would easily beat the student he was six months ago. Comparison of your genetic gifts to others is a motivation butcher. I told him that I felt limited the same way in terms of my natural abilities and he pointed skeptically to a wall I have with pictures from old competitions and laughed.
I told him that there have always been guys way stronger and faster than me naturally—I just did well for a kid who had simply been looking for a solution to being bullied. I went on to explain I was very much aware that there are tons of guys that can do to me what that white belt had done to him but you accept it and keep doing your best. He liked that.
Progression is like watching water boil: it never seems to happen when you’re staring at it, so walk away from the pot. When you leave it alone and stop focusing on whether or not it’s happening, the bubbles seem to rise up, just like your abilities.
Pictures by @apham15