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  • How to earn a blackbelt (or achieve any other goal you set).

    Yep, that’s right. As surprising as it might sound now, there was a time in my life when I earned a blackbelt and actually got to wear it.

    It was a couple of decades ago. No surprise there. These days I’m more likely on a recumbent bike than in a dojo. And that’s as it should be. Life changes, we all evolve, and it is appropriate to let some things go as they stop serving your greater purpose.

    We had a saying in our dojo that karate was more about the heart than the fist, and blackbelt lessons in particular are of the Life Kind, the lessons that can be used over and over again in a lot of different situations.

    While there were a few specific self defense lessons I’ll never forget, like the knee makes a much better target than the groin or head, the most valuable blackbelt life lesson was the one I learned about earning it. There’s only one way to earn a black belt, and it all boils down to one, simple act.

    I kept showing up.

    That’s it. No fancy kicks, no board breaking. I just kept showing up.

    That really is the secret behind any great achievement. Just don’t give up. Stand in the long lines, write the boring term papers, keep getting up to the always too-early alarm.

    Just keep showing up.