Independently Happy

I take happiness seriously. So you don't have to.

Getting vs. Becoming

Like so many things I do, this one drives me crazy. Remember back to November 11, 2013, when my kid and I were working towards getting our black belts in Taekwondo?

It took us a couple years. During the May of 2014, I started having some health problems and moving. I was constantly getting dizzy, so I took a few months off Taekwondo. We started back in the fall though, and one year later…


“The major value in life is not what you get. The major value in life is what you become.” -Jim Rohn

We did it!

On November 8, 2015, we finally got our black belts.

Awesome. Black Belt high five!

Writing about this right now brings two items to mind. The first is breaking a habit, and the second is getting vs. becoming.

I’ll cover the second item first. I do it because it’s maddening. I’ll cover breaking a habit later. Or maybe not at all. Since I just realized I didn’t cover it when I wrote this last month, and now I remember what I was thinking.

Becoming (Black Belts)

The last few months of getting a black belt at our school are tough. In addition to all the requirements you’ve already met, there are a lot more requirements that you have to meet within the final few months of the black belt test.

You work hard for a few years to get to those last two months. In our case, we had to work extra hard the month before to get to the two months. Then you work extra really hard to get to that last week. The final night of testing starts around 6:00 pm. After an hour of sparring, it is a mentally and physically grueling five hours of kicking, punching and all sorts of crazy anaerobic work that takes you way past a point where you want to quit.

That is the point. Make it exhausting and painful enough that all you want to do is quit. But you don’t quit.  You finish.

And when you finish, you get to spend about an hour cleaning the school.

At 9:00 am the next morning, you meet again to prepare for the exhibition. The exhibition begins around 1:00 pm. It’s two and a half hours of more kicking and sparring to show off for your family and friends before you finally…

Getting (black belts)

All of this made me especially proud of Isa, who did this without missing a beat in school or ballet.  She was also rehearsing for her first Nutcracker.

It dawned on me during those intense months that we weren’t just getting strips of black cloth, with our names stitched in gold, that we could tie around our wastes to show off how awesome we are.  


getting vs becoming

The years of work weren’t to get black belts; they were to become Black Belts.  

It wouldn’t have mattered if we didn’t get those pieces of cloth. Those beautiful, magnificent pieces of cloth.

It doesn’t matter that we haven’t picked up our Kukiwon certificates (More on that later). This just in: We picked up our certificates last week.

It doesn’t matter that we have belts that happen to be black. I have a few belts that happen to be black. You can buy black belts on Amazon and have someone stitch your name on them for a few dollars. You can skip the classes and tests. You can avoid the pain, the blood, the sweat and tears. And the sweat.

What matters is that we are black belts.

“The major value in life is not what you get. The major value in life is what you become.”

-Jim Rohn

In case you want to know how Isa and I became black belts. We did it Gradually, then Suddenly.

We didn’t cover breaking a habit. We’ll cover it later. Isn’t the suspense just terrible?

What do you want to become? More importantly, why? Please share in the comments below.

Although Disqus is great, and I recommend using it… you can click “Start the discussion…,” then Name, and the “I’d rather post as a guest” checkbox appears.

As if by magic.

Try it. I dare you.






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