Not getting what we want is frustrating, and getting what we want doesn’t lead to happiness. Knowing the difference between getting vs becoming will more enrich your happiness.
The Path to Getting What You Want
Like so many things I do, this one drives me crazy. Remember when my kid and I were working towards getting our black belts in Taekwondo?
It took us a couple of years. A few months later, I started having some health problems. I was continually getting dizzy, so I took a few months off Taekwondo. We started back in the fall, though, and one year later…
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 don’t remember what I was thinking.
Becoming (Black Belts)
That’s becoming Black Belts, upper case.
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 many more requirements that you have to accomplish 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
They make the test 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 is Not as Good
That’s getting black belts, lower case.
All of this made me especially proud of my daughter, who did this without missing a beat in school or ballet. She was also rehearsing for her first Nutcracker during this time.
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.
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 fabric–those beautiful, magnificent pieces of fabric.
It didn’t matter that we haven’t picked up our Kukiwon certificates. That would happen later.
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, 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 my daughter and I became black belts. We did it Gradually, then Suddenly.
For help starting or breaking a habit, learn how to do what you don’t want to do.
Since you know you want to know what it was like, check out the story of our Taekwondo Black Belt test on Medium.