It’s been said that those who fail to prepare are preparing to fail.
In academics, great students prepare by studying for exams. In the workplace, great managers prepare by organizing the day in advance.
Preparation, like anything else we do on a daily basis, is a habit. Your level of preparation is often an indicator of how seriously you taking your goals and responsibilities.
In the dojo, we often see the difference between “white belt mediocrity” and “black belt excellence” in the details of a student’s preparation.
It starts with appearance: your uniform, hygiene and posture are indicators of preparation. If your gi is torn or your pants won’t stay up, you probably won’t be able to focus on the lesson.
Is your uniform clean? Is your belt tied properly? How is your posture? How is your bow? Do you move quickly? Are you the first person done?
Next, think about fitness & nutrition: part of preparing well is being physically ready for class. Fresh fruits, vegetables and a proper balance of carbs and proteins are like high-octane fuel for a racecar. Junk food and most fast foods are like sugar in the gas tank and a banana in the tailpipe.
Finally, consider your mental attitude: If you still approach the classroom with a mindset of “me against you”, you’re falling into a classic trap. Your ego may improve, but the larger lessons will forever elude you.
How are you preparing to think bigger and see farther? Are you actively striving to take the “long view”? Do you think small and aim for easy targets that are set low?
All this preparation leads to the question, “what will you look like at Black Belt?”
Everything you do before, during and after each class is preparing you for something. Think of every class as one more chance to prepare for Black Belt, to craft your future from the present.