This is dedicated to somebody very close to me for when they say “i can’t do that.” I’ve heard for almost 10 years this person talking about my karate to me saying “i wish i could do that”, “i want to try”, “i want to do it.” Truth be told nothing would make me happier. I talk about karate in conversation as though it is my only lifeline in a bleak world, as though it is the oxygen that helps me breathe and takes my mind off everything that squeezes me tight in the stressful situations that come from life. The problem arises every time i get closing to getting this person to their first lesson, they back down at the last minute. To be honest i find it frustrating. The reason given is that people will laugh, they think they will be no good, they are too self conscious. I personally see it as a fear of them stepping in to the unknown, a fear of failure, a fear of worrying about what everybody else thinks of them.
I’d like to introduce you to two more people; They are completely unrelated to the person above.
What if i told you i have two friends from very different backgrounds. For the purpose of this post i shall call them A and B.
What if i told you A was born to a broken home, she was unplanned by her parents and life from the start was, shall we say difficult to say the very least. Her mother a drug user, her father in and out of prison. Whilst totally dependent upon her mother; A good day would be classified as not going to sleep hungry.
What if i told you friend B was born in to a life of luxury. Never needed, nor had to ask for anything. Two loving parents with good jobs and not a need to worry about finances. This friend was private school educated, the latest designer clothes, gadgets and anything else you could think of at the click of a finger.
What if i told you A was taken away at age 10 after her mother left her in the house for 2 days. Social services were called with her mother being put in prison, a final straw after a long string of offences. With no family to take care of her she ended up being put in to state care. The following years of her life saw her being expelled from two special measure schools and not having a GCSE qualification to her name, let alone being able to read or write. She had brushes with the law for shoplifting and later it progressed to dealing in drugs. She was subsequently caught and at age 17 she was put in to a young offenders institution.
What if i told you B went on to get top grades at GCSE and 5 top grade A-Levels earning him a place at one of the most prestigious universities to study Maths. He went on to graduate with a 1st and now works in one of the highest ranked schools according to OFSTED in the country. He is happy, he is content and he has recently bought his own house with the hard earned money that he has saved.
What if i told you that A spent a lot of time battling her inner demons during her sentence and decided that things need to change. She spent a long time learning to trust, but eventually found a confident in a support worker. During her 5 years with this team she learned to read, write and got a foundation GCSE in English Language and foundation Maths. She’s managed to get a part time job as a waitress in a restaurant and is also gaining an on the job qualification within the kitchen.
Now, what if i ASKED you who is more successful? I personally cannot say. I don’t have the answer. Success to me is based on individual experiences, their lives and history. Success to one person is not tangible to another. We all have different strengths and weaknesses; We are all individuals and this is what makes us human. If we were all the same then the world would be a boring place and that is what makes it so special.
As Gichin Funakoshi once said:
“The ultimate aim of Karate lies not in victory or defeat, but in the perfection of the character of its participants.”
So i say to you my dear friend; Do not worry what others think, do not get embarrassed, work your hardest and be the best that you can be. If you’re true to yourself then you cannot ask anything more than that. I’ll support you next week at your first lesson.