Within the last few days, I have been reading a number of online posts as well as having some private discussions through email, text, and PMs with people all roughly about the same thing. There are a good amount of people out there putting in effort to be better, safer and more dangerous but stumble along the way.
Whether someone feels like they are not training as much as someone else they read or hear about online, or if they did a competition of some kind and don’t do as well as they hoped, or they took a tough training course and got wrecked, or shot some hard drill and put the result up publicly, they use a lot of negative talk. “I really got my butt handed to me in that class”, or “I let my team down by my performance in that tournament”, or “I will never be as good as –fill in the blank- because I just am not as dedicated in my training as he is” are typical statements.
Here is my statement to all of you talking like this – STOP IT. NOW.
Stop wasting thoughts on “if only”s , or that you are not good enough, or that you do enough. If you are authentically doing the work and putting honest effort in, regardless of how much time you are spending doing it, you are winning! Being honest to the problem and trying to do something about it is the win. Everything else is just the process result. The journey is the win, not what comes at the end, because in our quest to become more capable/safer/dangerous, there is no end state. We keep on keeping on, and take pride in the blood, sweat, tears, money, and time we put in. Nothing else is worth worrying about.
And STOP COMPARING yourself to others. Your journey is yours and yours alone. So what if I put in more mat time than you? Or that Paul Sharp shoots more than you? O that Larry Lindenman or Chris Fry or Craig Douglas has been working real world fighting material longer than most of you have been adults? Or that Jouko Ahola spends more time lifting weights than you do? Or so-and-so has better genetics/more time/more money/easier access to training?
None of that matters. You are not in competition with any of them, nor do you need to measure yourself against any of them. Hell, you are not even in competition with that violent criminal actor out there waiting to do harm to you. You have no control over that. The only thing you can control, which means it is the only thing you need to compare yourself to, is the you of yesterday. The only question to ask is “am I better than I was yesterday?” If the answer is yes, even if you are only 1/100th of one percent better, than you are wining. Period.
To sum up, please listen to this. If you are actively, honestly working to be better than you were yesterday, you are doing great. Pat yourself on the back for a second, and then put your nose back to the grindstone. And stop belittling what you are doing.