Published by John Terry - The Black Belt Leader in Leadership · 18 January 2021
Who Wants to be Bruce Lee?
By: John L. Terry, III - The Black Belt Leader
My middle daughter is training for her first kickboxing match at the end of February. It has been an interesting journey for her, coming from several years of traditional martial arts training in Karate and transitioning into the world of MMA. Moving from a more linear, straight-ahead system of fighting to one that is at times more subtle and at times more brutal has been interesting to observe.
The transformation from karateka to MMA fighter has required her to learn a new skill set. Takedowns, grappling, joint locks, and transitions - to name a few. It has required my daughter to become a better version of herself in the gym every single session. It hasn't come easy, and learning these new skills are honed through trial and error.
While she still has a L-O-N-G way to go, she is focused on mastering her craft as MMA fighter, both physically and mentally.
It's also served as a reminder that leaders develop daily, not in a day. When people learn I am known as "The Black Belt Leader" and I'm a 2x martial arts hall of fame inductee, the conversation often turns to martial arts legends such as Bruce Lee, Chuck Norris, Jackie Chan, and Jet Li - along with many other famous film and fighting stars. As we talk about their accomplishments, many "wish" they could be just like Bruce Lee or one of these other martial arts legends.
This almost always leads me to ask the question, "Are you willing to do what Bruce Lee did to become who Bruce Lee was?" Bruce Lee was rentless in his pursuit of physical fitness and the mastery of the martial arts. His signature style, Jeet Kune Do, came as a result of years of study of various martial arts disciplines, taking the best of the best and blending them into a mixed martial arts style that remains an effective fighting system today.
The same could be asked of Chuck Norris, Jackie Chan, Jet Li, or other famous martial arts legends of the Big Screen. These individuals understood early on that Black Belt Mastery in their chosen Art requires a commitment to becoming a lifetime student of learning - as the Black Belt is not the end of the journey, it is only an acknowledgment one has been recognized as a serious student who is now prepared to really begin to learn.
Whether you're seeking to MASTER your emotions, thoughts, relationships, money, health, or career,..or become a MASTER in leadership, communication, sales, or team-building it requires that you become a lifelong student of learning. It requires a commitment to becoming a better version of yourself daily, an understanding you'll never truly arrive at your destination - because personal growth and development has no finish line.
So as you're pursuing Black Belt Mastery of yourself, or a particular skill set, it is important to acknowledge this is a process that will never be completed. Earl Nightengale reminded us decades ago that 10,000 hours of study is required to become an expert in any given subject matter. And it's only after 10,000 hours of study that you truly begin to become a serious student of the subject matter you're learning - and the pursuit of Black Belt Excellence is a lifelong journey...and one of the most rewarding things you'll ever pursue.
If you strive each day to become a better version of yourself than you were the day before, given enough time and effort, you'll be able to look back and see how far you've traveled, how far you've climbed - and you'll look forward to awakening each day and starting the process all over again to see how much farther, how much higher, you can go.
"Are you willing to do what Bruce Lee did to become who Bruce Lee was?"
Become a better version of yourself, every single day!