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Take the champion road

Why being the best you can be is not enough

I got stuck in a certain trap a while ago. Let me explain what the trap is and how you can avoid it.

I wanted to be the best grappler I can be. (Note to new readers: I practice Brazilian Jiu Jitsu and I’m passionate about it.) I still want to be the best grappler I can be and this desire itself isn’t a trap. Perhaps you have something you are passionate about and you want to reach the peak of your potential. Or perhaps you simply want to be the best person you can be. The latter applies to me as well, but I will use Brazilian Jiu Jitsu as an example.

The trap that caught me was this. I wasn’t clear about what it means to be the best grappler I can be… and I didn’t have any measure and I didn’t even try to set one… one that looks almost absurd.

Instead of declaring that I aim to win a world championship as part of my plan to be the best grappler I can be, I would say, “I want to be the best grappler I can be and that’s all I want”.

The reason why I didn’t say I would aim at becoming a world champion is because I was being realistic… or to put it more precisely, I didn’t trust myself enough. There are great players already and they’ve been practicing Brazilian Jiu Jitsu for ages. How can I beat them all? Am I good enough? This way of thinking is the trap I’m talking about.

Take The Champion Road

Achieving this goal is one thing, and taking a road to this goal is another thing. There’s nothing wrong with setting a ridiculously high goal and declaring it to others, provided that you actually take the path to that goal.

The reason why I believe setting such a goal is great is because it will give you a standard to measure your progress. “Being the best grappler you can be” is fine, but this doesn’t give me any clear standard that I can compre my self with my past selves. If I win a competition or people I couldn’t beat before, I know I improved.

Note that becoming a world champion is an objective standard. You beat everyone in your category and you’ll be a world champion. With this standard, you compare yourself with others. I compared myself with top players and didn’t even think about becoming a world champion.

But the thing is that my ultimate goal is oriented towards something subjective rather than objective.

Being a world champion in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu doesn’t necessarily mean that I got to the peak of my potential as a grappler. If I could improve my skills further, then that would mean I haven’t reached there yet.

At the same time, it’s possible that I may never be able to become a world champion in Brazilian Jiu Jitsu – it’s possible that the best grappler I can be is not the best grappler in the world.

What I need to do in order to measure my progress is to compare my current self with my past selves; I use an objective standard to make my progress visible.

Don’t apologise for setting a ridiculously high goal and taking the champion road. If you do, you are betraying yourself.

Let’s say you want to be the best person you can be. How would you know you are making progress? Is there any objective standard you can borrow? What are your ridiculously high goals?

Photo: Bahi P

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