I always found it incredibly admirable when people are able to turn their biggest challenges into their greatest victories. Many of us have been inspired by stories of Beethoven and his ability to overcome deafness and write some of the world’s most beautiful symphonies. Closer to home, we’ve been able to watch countless students turn their low self-esteem into an ever-growing positive self-image.
When I was younger I was extremely fearful that I wouldn’t be accepted or worse, rejected. I thought I wouldn’t be able to make friends or have girlfriends. I thought people would laugh at me if I tried out for the team and looked foolish or didn’t make it. I took everything so personally. If I called someone and they didn’t call me back it was because there was something wrong with me.
A lot of us allow fear to dictate so many of our decisions. We stay in relationships that lead us down negative paths and we are afraid to risk any level of vulnerability to enter new, good relationships. It reached a point where if someone was willing to influence me I would let them. It didn’t matter if they were influencing me in a positive or negative direction. This led to a series of very poor decisions which left me holding on to my integrity by a thread. I lied, cheated, and stole in order to avoid being rejected. This is a recipe for disaster.
Years later, I started to read books, listen to my teachers and train. I became more and more introspective and I started to witness myself acting almost solely out of fear. Once I started to see it, I couldn’t NOT see it. And that gave me the impetus to go to work. BBJJ gave me the confidence that I didn’t have to do the work alone. There was a lot of comfort for me knowing that my teachers had my back. So I did what they told me to do- I read more, and I listened more. I learned to discern who could help me and who might not.
Ultimately, this new path lead me to BBJJ where we can develop the confidence and the direction that we need to continue a positive life. I’ve been able to swing the pendulum so far in the other direction that I am actually able to BE a positive influence on so many people. I can’t say that I never make decisions out of fear anymore. But I can say that its rare. And I can look myself in the mirror and know: I turned one of my greatest challenges into one of my greatest victories.
This experience has given me a brand new perspective on challenges. Challenges have the potential for greatness- not just despair. I recently dealt with an injury and I immediately looked at how it will eventually add to my Jiu-Jitsu practice and my life rather than detract from it. Professor has always told me that tough times don’t last…tough people do.