Monday, September 28, 2009

Karate Wisdom and the Path to Success

I lurked again. And on forums where a person like me has no business lurking. Why?, you might ask, Why don't you stay away from the negative side, Diana? It will bring you no good! And I DO stay on the positive blogs and forum threads mostly. I will not be seduced by the dark side, otherwise you know what will happen. I'll have to fight a small green guy and I am really non-confrontational. But this isn't Star Wars wisdom, it's Karate Wisdom. I should be talking about wax-on, wax-off or other overused karate analogies. Thanks to a little seminar by my kids' new karate sensai, however, I have some easy tricks to following the path to success and I don't even have to do sunrise kicks on the beach with Mr. Miyagi.

This knowledge I pass to you from the wisdom of Karate-Dude. While at the new karate place listening to the first-day-of-class intro, Karate-Dude tells the bouncy, energetic four-to-eight year olds that every single one of them can become a black belt. (Really? Some of them are digging for gold or lost in space, but I'm listening). Yes, all of them can, he says, because the path to success is as simple as A-B-C. 

I'll pause here to say that Karate-dude is completely awesome. He has a second degree black belt and five thousand patches all over his karate suit. AND he has, by this point, somehow snagged the attention of about a dozen hyper-jazzed children who have been promised an hour a week of fighting barefoot in what appear to be pajamas. This would scare me, especially watching one crazed boy who keeps standing and sitting like he's ready to bust something, and who eventually yells, "Kiiii-yaaaaaaaah!!!!" right in the middle of Karate-Dude's speech for no reason at all. But Karate-Dude doesn't lose his cool. He tells them that they will all learn to be focus-masters, even crazy-boy. I want to be a focus-master too!

A- Attitude
Yes, attitude is everything. Successful people don't keep saying that to trick everyone. Have a positive attitude, even when it's hard, because it makes the hard times easier to handle and because it'll make it easier to see when good opportunities come your way. Plus, if we have to go through the difficult to attain our goals, we may as well seek out and enjoy whatever positives we find along the way. And here's an interesting point Karate-Dude brought up: sometimes people with negative attitudes feel better about themselves when they bring others down. Surround yourself with positive people and learn to tune out the negative.

B- Believe
Believe in yourself. Sounds simple, but karate-dude said it's one of the hardest things a person can do. It's easier to think, "I doubt I'll ever get such-and-such goal accomplished," than to risk the disappointment of really believing in yourself and your goals. We try to protect ourselves from that yucky feeling of being let-down, but if we don't fully believe in ourselves and in our writing, how can we expect an agent, editor, and ultimately the public to believe in what we write?

C- Concentration
Whoa, I totally thought he was going to say Confidence. But concentration, he said, is the final key to success. Because the right attitude and believing in yourself will not help if you don't focus on your goals and work hard. Set small, attainable goals and stay focused, making sure each small goal you've set leads to your ultimate goal (and once you achieve that ultimate goal, that is the time to set a new ultimate goal and the small attainables that go along with it). For now, concentrate on your writing, even if all you have is an hour a day or an hour a week, that time is about the goal you have set out: to write your story. I also translate that into the old acronym BICHOK, (Butt In Chair, Hands On Keyboard). It's the only way things can keep moving forward.

Karate dude finished with the "I-Can Blast," a tool to help us stay on the path to success. First, visualize your ultimate goal: to become a real black-belt in karate, (yours can be something different). Then say, "I can!" five times with all the power in your heart.  

Say it every morning, think it throughout the day, follow the A-B-C's and you will be on the path to success.


  1. Oh sure... I just finished posting a depressing gripe fest and you post something inspirational and positive.

    Great post, btw. Karate analogies and references to Mr. Miyagi always rock.

  2. You did not have a depressing gripe fest, you gave some handy tips about handling sleep-deprivation, talked about Gremlins (awesome), and you announced the laundry jamboree starting today at your place and rockin' its way over to mine this Thursday. Boo yeah.

  3. LOL. Wow. You've reached Polyanna levels of spin. Right on, Diana. Although... I will confess that pop-culture references are cheery no matter what they're about.

  4. Ha ha, glad I entertained you for a moment there. Spinning your gripe-fest wasn't my finest moment in the spin-room, probably a six on the bright-side challenge meter, but I try.

  5. I have always struggled with belief. That is a hard one. Five years of querying and five years of rejections... who could blame me? But the attitude was always (almost) there. Well, attitude was definitely bolstered by the support of friends and family.

    But it all payed off in the end. I guess if you want something bad enough to go through five years of rejections, there'd darn well better be a silver lining at the end!

    Thanks for the great post!

  6. Hi Bethany! I struggle with all three, but belief is also my toughest to really hang on to. It's so scary to really let go and believe, almost like there's a voice that says, "Yeah right, what makes you so special?"

    And it sure did pay off for you...I still feel a little starstruck that you come over here; thank you and thanks especially for the comment. I literally can-not-wait to do a Book Talk for you someday :)

  7. I LOVE THIS POST! Very inspirational! I will keep this in mind from now on!

  8. Thanks Natalie :) Karate Dude is a wise man.