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"Transformation Does Not Tolerate Mediocrity"

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"Transformation Does Not Tolerate Mediocrity"

I remember the first time my eyes gazed upon this statement. I was sitting in a room with around 100 other people at 7:30 in the morning. Although we were all tired from the previous day’s travel we were eager to learn and filled with anticipation as the speaker calmly reviewed his notes for the 8am seminar.

I recall sitting in my chair having all sorts of mental conversations with myself. Thoughts were coming to me from everywhere. I had this fuzzy warm feeling inside. "What a great saying. I am going to write this one down and add it to my collection of sayings!" I said to myself. I still have that trap in me -- the trap of collecting sayings or inspirational quotes and even better, placing them on memes so everybody can see. The unfortunate thing for me was that the purpose of the sayings went no further than being beautiful and fuzzy.

Over the years I’ve discovered that almost every human has an innate desire for transformation. Whether it be by gaining additional education, getting a promotion or a change of position, moving to a new house or city, or getting married and having children we all desire some sort of change. I mean what’s wrong with attempting to improve yourself, your surroundings, and your situation. Isn’t that the real reason we like to collect those motivational memes in the first place?!

So why don’t more of us achieve this goal of transformation??? Because I truly believe that being mediocre is a default value in all humans. What I mean by default is that it’s inside of us and operates without our awareness. I also believe that all default values are changeable. Maturity is the ability to take responsibility for the way we think and act. Animals mature by natural process, but humans mature by questioning the default values and points of reference that are inside all of us.

After studying the lives of a many successful people whom I’ve had the pleasure to know, I am beginning to see that these people have positively transformed their mediocrity by (1) having goals, (2) constantly measuring progress towards their goals, (3) subordinating their moods to their honor (i.e., putting their needs before their wants), and (4) following the Japanese concept of Kaizan, which means constant and never-ending improvement.


So my questions to you are: 

Have you set a goal to become a Black Belt?

Please remember that becoming a Black Belt has nothing to do with having a Black Belt. There are students who wear a Black Belt without having the qualities of one, and there are students who have the qualities of a Black Belt who are still working towards wearing one. Guess which one I always aspired to be and expect every one of our students to be as well.


Are you constantly measuring your progress towards your Black Belt?

One way to do this is being consistent and on time with your belt testing and exams. Asking for feedback from your instructors is another way to measure progress. Participation in tournaments is also a great apples-to-apples comparison of your skills to those of similar ranks and experience levels.


Are you giving up your moods and your feelings to your honor and doing the right thing?

So many times I have given in to my mediocrity. In doing so, I sometimes gave up on my dreams. I know now that the way I feel about working out on a regular basis has nothing to do with the way I feel (usually my defaults talking) at that particular time. I work out because it is the right thing to do.



Are you constantly working on making small improvements?

 I remember hearing this saying as a child that said: "Practice makes perfect." I used to really believe in that until while training for third degree I heard this other one that said: "Practice does not make perfect; perfect practice makes perfect." That saying remained my belief system until recently when I saw this one: "Practice does not make perfect. Perfect practice does not make perfect. Practice makes improvements, and improvements lead towards excellence." You see, perfection is not obtainable, but excellence is a progressive process. It isn’t obtained in an instant, but takes time and consistency. However, excellence is permanent when you finally attain it.

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