When you go after a goal, it is important to enjoy the process not just focus on attaining the desired result. The journey offers you far more value and as many rewards as getting to your destination. How come? Because it is the journey to your ideals that moulds your character, offers you opportunities to realize your potential, and tests you to see how committed you are to succeeding. The journey teaches you, transforms you, and stirs up the genius within you. You discover and develop the qualities of greatness such as courage, tenaciousness, resilience, compassion and understanding. Reaching the destination or goal feels fantastic. However, it doesn’t bring you the same sustained gifts that the journey does.
The next time you feel impatient, frustrated or hopeless on your path to the personal and professional life you want, keep in mind that exactly where you are might just be the best place you could possibly be. Also maybe the journey is better than the destination.
“ It is important when going after a goal, to never lose sight of the integrity of the journey
Andy Garcia the actor.
Makoto was a 23-year-old business man that came and joined my dojo in Yokohama, Japan. He really had the fire in his belly to get promoted as quickly as he could. His thinking was that if he attained the black belt position he would be peaceful, contented and happy. He trained hard every day. When he was shown a technique or a move he would practice it 10,000 times until he could not get it wrong. He got through the grades up to 2nd kyu and he hit a wall. The harder he practised the worse the techniques became. Eventually, none of the techniques worked and he was growing more and more frustrated. One day he came to me in tears and said “Martin Shihan, I can’t do this anymore! No matter how hard I try or how many times I try I just can’t get this to work. Can you please help me?” Makoto was a hard working, honest, and sincere man that helped others every day, so I told him I could help him but only if he was willing to apply what I told him to do. Of course, he said he would do anything.
I asked him if he enjoyed the process of learning Aikido and he said he did, that he always felt much better after coming to the dojo. I asked him what he got out of his practice sessions, was it just a feeling of getting another move down? He said honestly it was, and his goal was to learn more techniques than any of his friends knew. He wanted to become the top martial artist in the world that could not be defeated. I asked him that if he achieved this goal how would that change his life? He had a grand picture in his head of being a movie star with fancy cars, a big house with a swimming pool, fans admiring him and beautiful women throwing themselves at him. He would have more money than he would be able to spend and all his problems would be solved. I smiled and asked him to remember me when he achieved his dreams.
But in order to get there, he would have to get past the 2nd kyu grading. The way to do this was probably one of the most difficult tasks he had ever faced in his life. It required him to do less not more. To feel his partner’s Ki and lead it softly, lightly and gently with a clear purpose. Makoto was a young buck and he loved doing things with physical power. This is the way men do things in the relative world. I told him he was doing Aikido in a way similar to a beginner driving a car. the beginner wants to go fast but can’t control the car so the person has to learn how to use the accelerator. Makoto had to learn to take his foot off the accelerator and slow things down. He had to learn to enjoy the journey and not just focus on being the best martial artist in the world. Because even if he attained this goal it would be a shallow achievement.
He had deeper issues that he needed to work on mentally such as his desires for approval, wanting to control everything and wanting to be safe. I worked with him on these issues and he grew a lot in the year that followed. eventually, he got his black belt and continued his studies. But the point he came to was that it was ok for him not to be the best martial artist in the world he still was the best Makoto in all of history and never has there been or ever will be another Makoto like him. Internally he found his real self and the external things he had been chasing ceased to be so important to him. He still wants those things and is still working to achieve them but he has his priorities in order and his Aikido is world class level. I hope you can get something from this article to help you.Until next time I wish you peace, love and success. Martin Acton sensei