At a certain time, and in a place far from here, a man stood in front of a massive pillar of concrete. It towered high into the sky. Immense. Heavy. Immovable.
But he had to do the impossible. The tower had to fall, and he had to be the one to do it, no assistance allowed. There was a gun to his head. Do or die. But how?
With his current strength, there was no way to even budge that much weight. Straining against it would have accomplished nothing, but there were variables in the situation that weren’t apparent at first glance.
In addition to the pillar of concrete that towered into the sky, there was another one right next to it. It was different though. Smaller. Lighter. And then next to that, there was yet another and another and another. Each smaller and lighter than the one before it.
Once he noticed that, a small seed of an idea starting to form in his mind and he ran until he found smallest and lightest of the pillars. He pushed against it, and it MOVED. Whoa! What if? His eyes drifted back to the largest pillar, the immovable object, with a smile on his face.
There was now a possibility of success.
And he seized it by pushing the smallest pillar with all his might. As it toppled over, it crashed into the pillar next to it, toppling that one over as well, which crashed into the next one. And so it went. Each time more force was generated, until a pillar finally struck the last one. The sound was loud, and the force was enormous.
And as the largest pillar toppled over, it was like watching a giant fall in slow motion. And when it hit the ground, dust flew, the earth shook, and tremors were felt far and wide.
What’s the Significance of the Story
This story is a dramatic way of telling you about a physics experiment. And when I saw it, I immediately thought of the power of the smallest step forward in achieving any goal.
Of all the massive goals that exist in Jiu-jitsu, reaching black belt is the most universal desire. And it’s not something that can be achieved easily or effortlessly. Thousands upon thousands of small almost insignificant steps are required to achieve that goal, and many fail along the way for numerous reasons.
Black belt is that massive pillar.
And in order to topple it, you have to start with one step and then build momentum until one day you look back and can’t believe all that you’ve achieved.
The Smallest Step Forward
The first step is effortless. It’s something that you’ve already accomplished. You went out. You found a reputable gym. You contacted them. You visited. And you tried a class.
It was easy. Not everyone takes that step though even if they desire to learn. They hesitate. They have excuses. I know because I once did. I trained at Evolve Academy for almost a year before I finally convinced myself to try Jiu-jitsu. Now I wish that I had started earlier.
In that first class, you learned a bit, and then promptly forgot most of it. No worries though. At that moment you started the journey towards mastery, and you’ve already completed the most important step. Starting.
Once you’ve begun, it becomes easier to take the next step and the next after that. The momentum you build by continuing to take small steps forward like showing up to class, drilling technique, and taking notes starts to create a domino effect. And consistent effort is what determines how far you will go in the journey.
There are also specific ways that you can use that focus to develop aspects of your game.
One day, you walk into class, and your instructor is showing a technique that blows your mind. It seems like something far outside of your ability. You try anyway though. It just doesn’t turn out pretty. You’re forgetting steps. Some movements are hard to do. All kinds of problems.
In that case, there is a method you can use to ensure that you’re still improving. Take the technique and break it down into its individual components. Pick one that is easy for you to do, and then just drill that for a moment. Once you have a firm grasp of it, try another step and another and another.
You still may not get the technique perfect that day, but progress has been made. If you continue to work on it, you’ll master it. That’s a certainty because…
Momentum is powerful.