“The only thing that overcomes hard luck is hard work.”

“The only thing that overcomes hard luck is hard work.”

Harry Golden

It is human nature to take the easy path to do something. And with incidental activities like washing your car, driving to the beach or preparing a meal taking the shortest quickest path makes the most sense. However, in the area of achievement there is no quick path, fast track or “easy” way to get there. And yes, some people are lucky enough to get there faster than others but for most of us success comes about from just sticking to your guns and doing everything possible to advance foreword.

What is hard?

There are two types of “hard work” – external and internal.

External hard work is the blood, sweat and tears that it takes to achieve something. It is the physical act of “doing it”. In the martial arts world, it’s hitting pads, sparring, training, grappling, testing out techniques, making mistakes, progressing slowly, working around injuries and you know the score. It’s turning up, putting in the time and putting in the effort to achieve an end result.  

Internal hard work is getting past all the mental barriers that we put up before, during and after we are involved in the “physical” game. Barriers like thinking that we are not good enough, we are not as good as the next guy, too tired, too busy, not fit enough, not big enough, not strong enough and you get the picture.

I have thought long and hard about why people quit training in the martial arts and it seems to me that most people quit because it is hard. It’s physically and internally difficult to keep coming back for more and really easy to quit. It takes a special person to get past the internal and external barriers to be a great martial artist. And the exciting thing for me is that anyone can do it. I know they can do because I have done it. I am not saying that I am a great martial artist by any stretch of the imagination. I have flaws in my skills that I am working to improve every day. But I tell you what, I am 10 times the martial artist I used to be. And it’s all been a by-product of getting past physical and mental barriers. Exhaustion, injuries, boredom, financial hardship, burnout, lack of motivation and countless other barriers have all been part of the journey for me as a full time martial artist. But I wouldn’t have the skills I have now without learning to get past them.

Author Joseph Campbell refers to taking the left hand path in life. What is the left hand path? The left hand path is the road less traveled. It is the choices, actions and decisions that you make that most people don’t. Most people are inherently lazy and unmotivated. If you want something different, you have to make different choices. Most people would look at everything we go through in the martial arts and think that we are crazy. But in the same instant, they want it. They want the confidence that comes from training, they want to able defend themselves and their loved ones, they want to meet motivated people and they want the gifts that come from training. But how many actually follow through and do it? If you’re doing it, I take my hat off to you. You are on the right track that will give you the results you’re after. But only if you learn to override hard luck with hard work.

If we are facing in the right direction, all we have to do is keep on walking.

Buddhist Saying