Be careful with your excuses. They expose your values.
When an athlete or student tells me they want to take their training to the next levell, but then makes an excuse for skipping practice, or not focusing on the drill, or whatever really–there is always something written between the lines.
Truly, I do not expect every student to make the sacrifices necessary to be a professional athlete–that is completely unreasonable. It’s absolutely OK to enjoy martial arts as a hobby, and you can gain a tremendous amount of value from simply incorporating a few training sessions into your weekly routine. In fact, having retired from competition nearly ten years ago to the day, this is exactly my relationship with the arts right now.
But for those people who desire (or think they desire) to be extra-ordinary, the standards must be raised and they must conduct themselves in an extra-ordinary way.
Excuses expose the ceiling of your commitment. They explicitly state how far you are willing to go in order to get where you want to be. They define, in black and white terms, exactly how invested you are.
Goals require vision, and vision requires ownership.
We do not invest our money into a rental car. We don’t spend hours waxing it. We don’t vacuum the interior. We don’t change the oil. We simply use it up, and give it back. Renting is easy, it’s convenient.
Similarly if we do not own our commitments and our vision, then we simply enjoy the use of it all until the cost becomes too high, and eventually just throw it away.
What we often find excusable (a broken down vehicle, unavailabiltiy of clean training gear, an injured toe, etc) is really nothing more than some sort of inconvenience. Some of these inconveniences are extremely reasonable (“I couldn’t make it to practice because my car broke down and it would take me two hours to get there each way”), but again they are simply inconveniences that could be overcome with some additional cost or effort.
Any legitimate coach or mentor is not really listening to your excuses, but instead reading into your values. One excuse tells volumes more than any declaration every will.
Because in the end, it is your actions, not your words, that define you. It’s a timeless truth that we so often forget!