Monday, November 05, 2012

No Super Punch

I felt like I had to hear it. Stories let the lessons sink deep so you don't forget.


Marlon said he would settle for no less than a knock out. He was 11 and in the heat of the semifinals of a contact sport, karate. He fought many matches and won all of them - by knock out. He was in the semis because he beat about 10 or so boys by knocking them out.

His "move" was going for the temple hit - sure knock out, he thought.

He took his place on the mat and the match began. He vowed no body shots - only temple hits for the knock out. His ego said body shots are cheap shots. Cheap shots are for the weak. And the players who win by knock out win by hitting the temple with one big "super punch."

While he was busy waiting for the perfect timing for his super punch, his opponent took the time giving him body shots. One body shot after another. Marlon gave no body shot, he only put his guards up, and went on to wait for the perfect timing for his knock out shot, his super punch.

A few rounds into the match, he started to feel his insides cramping up. All the opponent's body shots were taking their toll. Marlon's body was shutting down from all the body shots he received.

Marlon didn't see the game to the end. Next thing he knew, he woke up at home. He never found the "perfect" timing for his knock out super punch. His opponent evidently won, by taking the more consistent, and as Marlon calls it, "cheap" body shots.


I've heard the "no super punch" moral of the story many times over. Yet, now and then, I realize I think that way still - path of least resistance, I guess. After all, other people's successes always seem like they were won that way - with the one winning "super punch."

I guess that's how the non-winners always see it. We see the ending, the one last hurrah, the icing to the cake. The non-winners rarely get acquainted with the dirty word - consistency. We hear a lot about talent, and luck, and timing. Maybe we hear about consistency too, but we are too preoccupied all the other glamorous ideas, we pay little attention to the things that matter more.

More than for anyone, this story is for me. This story is to remind me that everything counts; that everything I do either moves me forward or takes me back; that there is no action with no consequence.

This is to remind me that small everyday disciplines as well as small everyday errors in judgment add up to the final score. That there is no one magical stroke of luck to turn things around in the same way there is no one unlucky twist of fate that will be the one determining factor to my end result. Everything adds up.

Champions do not become champions when they win the event, but in the hours, weeks, months, and years they spend preparing for it. The victorious performance itself is merely the demonstration of their championship character.

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