Jessica Watson completed her sail around the world today. Many people have circumnavigated the world solo in a sailboat—but Jessica Watson is a 16-year-old girl. This has never been done before. Whether you support her effort or not you have to admire her. We as martial artists can learn a lot from this story.
Have a go. Jessica was not afraid to embark on this journey, despite her age. She was brave enough to give it a shot. I see this all the time in our students. This is why kids learn so fast. They are not afraid to look bad—they just do it. I have seen kids who have gone into their first karate tournament and won a trophy. It happens all the time. They were not afraid to have a go at it.
Ignore the naysayers. There will always be “well wishers” who say “you shouldn’t do this or that” or “you are not ready”. Jessica ignored them and focused on the task at hand. Most successful people in the world have this important quality of ignoring those who doubt their abilities.
Believe in yourself. When others doubt you and the task seems impossible, it is hard to keep going. But if you truly believe in yourself, as Jessica did, you will come through in the end. She believed firmly in her skill as a sailor, and that is what got her through a difficult journey.
Don’t give up. Despite having a run-in with a huge freighter, a boat that overturned in 10-meter swells, freezing temperatures, broken equipment, and other hardships, Jessica did not even think of giving up. It is this quality that is most important for success. I have seen kids fail the black belt test two or three times, and then come back with a vengeance on the next grading, performing the best in their class. Never give up.
Remember those that made your success possible. From Jessica’s blog, “And of course yesterday was Mother’s Day. I couldn’t cook her breakfast in bed or make her a card like she deserves a million times over, so I’ve saved an extra hug for when I get in. What Mum did letting me go and helping me get to the start line while still looking after everyone else is in my eyes much harder than anything I’ve faced out here. Thanks Mum!”
Being in the “here and now” and enjoying the journey. From her blog “I’m having the time of my life slowly cruising up the coast, not pushing Ella’s Pink Lady too hard, and looking forward to arriving on the 15th. I’m enjoying all the highs of solo sailing and in just a few days, I’ve got seeing friends and family to look forward to”. She was clearly enjoying the journey, yet at the same time looking forward to happy times in the future. Work at your goals, but revel in your achievements and most importantly, enjoy the journey.