Grandmaster Rose 07/1999 Summer Address

C&S Self Defense Association

Dear Students and Friends,

In my last address to you all, I spoke about some of my views on promotion ranks. I'd like to continue this just a little, if I may, but look at more of a big picture. You see, we tend at times to get so hung up on validating ourselves through what rank we are that we many times forget what a tremendous accomplishment it was to get the rank that we have. Not everyone wants or needs to be a Green Belt. Maybe all a person needs is a better sense of confidence that, if they are threatened, they have a few tools they can draw on to stand up for themselves. This is great! This is what it's all about, isn't it? Sure it is. It's all about hard work and achievement- but achievement of your goals, not anyone else's.

I am not advocating complacency. Far from it. Never be satisfied with your current situation as long as you have a true desire to do the work to get to the next level. Don't strive to get a Brown Belt because everyone is asking you when you are going to test; strive because that is what you want. Our work lives are a lot like this, aren't they? We too often look to the next level as "success" as opposed to looking at the success that we currently are. Constantly looking ahead when that is really not what you have your heart into takes such a tremendous amount of energy that often times your focus on current work suffers. And then you are faced with real conflict.

Unfortunately, no one is going to promote you or give you that next raise because you are such a terrific person. You need to work. No work: no promotion, raise, praise, or new car. Well, when you are consumed with frustration by your lack of advancement, you become bitter at your current level. Because your work suffers, you will not be considered for further advancement. And this causes you to be more bitter. And on it goes. You become a "water cooler grump"- you grouse to those taking too long at the water cooler (or lunch counter, or bus stop, etc.) as they are the only ones (other than other water cooler grumps) who will listen to you. So you flap your lips complaining about things no one can change but yourself because you are too lazy or too bitter to do the work. Ahhhhh… Unfortunately, it all comes down to doing the work.

Well consider this: perhaps you don't want to do the work because what you are working for is not really what you want! Think about it… Let's say that you enjoy animals. You just love animals, their habits, environments, history- everything! Every book you read as a kid was about animals and the classes you did best in were related to animals. You are interested in little else than animals and so you get a degree in wildlife management and set out on an extremely low paying job of counting and categorizing snail populations in some remote wilderness location in Montana. Life is tough. You drive a wreck car and beans and franks become a staple of life.

You look at your situation and pine that you are not a success. You wish you had gone into biochemical engineering like your college roommate who is now making $40,000 a year more than you are. You took chemistry in college and liked it. Maybe you should rethink your life. Maybe you should go back to night school and get a technical degree… So you do. But you find your heart is just not in it. You can't remember the organic formulas for sugar much less some of the more esoteric concoctions you are expected to be able to recite from memory. In fact, reading about the physics of molecular interaction is an easy 20 minute non drug induced method of getting a good nights sleep. Are you going to be a success as a chemical engineer? You will be lucky to graduate let along convince an employer of your unbounded enthusiasm for chemistry. You will really be a failure then, won't you?

So, don't kid yourself. Stick with the wildlife management- your passion. You are already a success at that, it's just that no one has yet "discovered" you and told you so- yet. You need to believe in yourself and in what you are doing. If you don't, then how will anyone else? So, be proud of what you have and what you know and the contribution that you are providing. You are somebody. You are a success. And you know what? As soon as you discover this, someone else will as well, and then the money and recognition will come. But even if it doesn't, you enjoy getting out of bed in the morning. You are accomplishing something. You are somebody! Be proud of that- there are an awful lot of rich people out there who are so unhappy that they would trade places with you in a second. The reason that they can't is that they have developed a complicated lifestyle that has committed them to payments that can only be satisfied by "feeding the monkey"- staying at a job that they hate because they lucked into money that they spend more of than they make and now the monkey won't let them out of the cage; they have to keep feeding the monkey…

If karate/martial arts is your passion then you will do fine. It will take time, but you will do fine. Enjoy the trip, the effort, the passion of it! The promotions will come. The ability will come. The knowledge will come. But they will only come as long as you have the passion. When the passion goes- so must you. Do not set yourself up for failure by staying and doing something because you "think" you should. Only do those things that you "must"- things that you are driven to do, because it is those things that will allow your passion to be seen and appreciated by others. Sharing your passion is the greatest gift you can give another. Find your passion. Find it now. Let go of what you think and grab onto what you "feel". Make that your life's work and your life will be a success and you will positively affect the lives of others- our greatest goal not only as martial artists, but as a society and a people.

In our art,
Grandmaster Peter M. Rose

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