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Two Secrets of Success

by Tom Cako

Sensei Tom Cako, black belt, 6th Dan
Sensei Tom Cako of Tri-City Training

At one point or another, most people set goals and choose to walk paths of self-improvement. Although so well-intended, people often ‘fall off the track’ or create ‘reasons’ for why they ‘can’t’ or won’t follow through. Eventually, they choose to stay comfortable instead of pushing through the tough stuff – there will always be a ‘reason’/excuse to give up; How do we push “beyond reasons”?

I assume when people come to me, that they are looking for change. What I often witness is that people want this now, tomorrow or the next month - they want instant gratification. What happens when you try to change everything now? Usually you go back to what you know, what’s comfortable. A car that is changing directions can’t all of a sudden turn around and be driving in the other direction – it needs to slow down before it turns around and then accelerate once it has changed directions. This kind of change requires patience, determination, and an understanding of the bigger picture.

Many people say they can make drastic changes easily and are committed to doing "whatever it takes" to get results, but in reality this is short- lived. This isn't to say that not a single soul can make it happen; some people have what it takes to make cold turkey changes. But what about the other 95%?

What I can tell you is this: after training for an extensive period of time, it’s not only what you do inside the gym (any training room) that gets results, it’s what you do outside that matters. Your training becomes a part of you: in your actions and thoughts every day. It affects everything! Your attitude and your character will determine your true success.

With a “short sighted” approach to training, or by taking short cuts, you lose the foundation of body and mind that I believe are the most important. It's impossible to learn some characteristics in 3 months: traits such as patience, consistency, understanding and discipline. And when it begins to get tough – the ‘reasons’ to quit begin to creep in… and it isn’t long before the initial drive is gone.

In the instant gratification world of looking for results – one often looks around externally for a ‘quick fix’ magic pill. When searching for external remedies for ‘problems’ -- we can miss solutions that are right in front of us. We need to be honest about who we are and 'where we are at'. We often actually know 'what to do.' It's just a matter of actually doing it and having the commitment and discipline to carry it through.

Stop talking about it…and start doing it. In fact – maybe don’t talk about it – until it’s done. In order to achieve success we must be willing to ACT on what we know.

As we move towards accomplishing our goals, we are sometimes asked to push ourselves beyond where we think we can go. If we are open to being coach-able... open to new perspectives - we can accomplish greater things. It’s not usually one big battle, but rather ‘pushing through the grind’ that requires the daily discipline to accomplish one’s goal. It’s staying committed to the goal and remembering why you are doing it to begin with. It’s walking through the training room door over and over and over and over and over again – understanding that the secret of success is found in the repetition of sticking to the plan.

When you think “I have to get fit before I join that karate class” or “I don’t have the skills or resources that he has” – you allow yourself ‘reasons’ or excuses to give up even before you have even begun. Instead, “Start where you are. Use what you have. Do what you can” (Arthur Ashe). "The price of success is hard work, dedication to the job at hand, and the determination that whether we win or lose, we have applied the best of ourselves to the task at hand" (Vince Lombardi). What you get when you accomplish your goal is not as important as who you have become as a result of accomplishing your goal. The journey towards the goal helps to define you. Are we willing to 'apply the best' of ourselves? ...even when it's uncomfortable? If not – maybe you need to determine whether or not you actually want to accomplish your goal. If yes, I can assure you the results will be better than you can possibly imagine.

Every day is an opportunity to embrace positive change in our lives. We get to choose what kind of an attitude we'll have, how we will respond to challenges, who we surround ourselves with, if we will apply the best of ourselves, and if we will accomplish our goals. We can embrace reasons for why we can’t, or we can embrace the process of starting where we are, using what we have, and taking one step at a time (over and over and over again) towards success.

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