THE TRUE MEANING OF THE BLACK BELT
The Right Perspective Series l Story 3
After many years of hard training, a martial arts student finally knelt before his sensei (or “teacher” or “master” in Japanese) to receive his black belt.
“Before giving you the black belt, you must pass one more test,” the sensei said.
“I am ready,” the student replied confidently.
The sensei asked: “What is the true meaning of the black belt?”
“The end of my journey,” the student said. “A good reward for all my hard work.”
The sensei was not satisfied and waited for more. Finally, the sensei spoke: “You are not ready for the black belt. Return in one year.”
A year later, the student knelt again in front of the sensei.
“What is the true meaning of the black belt?” the sensei asked again.
“A symbol of distinction and the highest achievement in our art,” the student replied.
The sensei said nothing for many minutes. Clearly, he was not satisfied again. He finally spoke: “You are still not ready for the black belt. Return in one year.”
A year later, the student knelt once again in front of the sensei. And again the sensei asked the same question: “What is the true meaning of the black belt?”
“The black belt represents the beginning — the start of a never-ending journey of discipline, hard work and the pursuit of an ever higher standard,” the student replied.
The sensei smiled and said: “You are finally ready to receive the black belt and begin your work.”
As we can see, the attainment of the black belt marks a point, but it is not the highest point. The black belt merely enables us to move on to the next point.
You may think: “This is terrible. The hardwork never ends!”
Yes, the more we learn, the more we know, and the more we attain……and the more we attain, the more we are expected to contribute to the good of others.
This is why we need to believe in what we do.
We need to believe it is worth doing.
We need to believe we are doing something useful.
We need to find our work interesting and challenging.
We need to have fun along the way.
We need to be dissatisfied with ourselves if we have not done our best.
We need to learn new things and get better day by day.
Otherwise life will be a big burden and work will be a dread.
Excellence is a never-ending journey. It is our attitude that will make the journey either fun or burdensome.
So, believe in yourself. Be the best you can be. Do the best you can.
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