GB Motivation: Being Your Best

“Just try to be the best you can be; never cease trying to be the best you can be. That’s in your power.” – John Wooden
If you ask most achievement oriented people they will reveal that they have some favorite inspirational quotes that lend motivation in their lives as they work towards their goals.

The opening quote is something that many Jiu-Jitsu students can relate to. Each of us who get on the mats several times each week is pushing themselves to exceed their previous level and overcoming obstacles and setting goals.
Coach John Wooden was an American basketball player and the head coach at UCLA and won 10 NCAA National Championships and especially known for his ability to lead and motivate his players.
For Jiu-Jitsu students seeking to reach their own potential, we have some tips – inspired by the lessons of Coach Wooden – to help you on your way.
1) Surround yourself with people who have a higher level than you. There is an old cliche “You can choose to be a big fish in a small pond…or a small fish in a big pond.” For Jiu-Jitsu students, it is important to train with people who have a higher level than you who will push you beyond your current levels. Gracie Barra holds competition training camps before major Bjj competitions to give exposure to athletes to the highest level of technical instruction.
Many top athletes will travel to seek out the highest level of instruction and be in a room everyday where they are not the most skilled competitor. For others, it means seeking out an environment with the highest level of instruction where you can learn from those more experienced.
2) Don’t compare yourself to others. Coach Wooden explained that comparing ourselves to others who have different talents, advantages or abilities can lead to discouragement. For example the 2 x a week recreational student (who works a full time job with family commitments) comparing their performance to the serious competitors who are training 6 times per week. This false comparison can diminish ones own accomplishments. The better way to look at it is to ask “Am I better than I was a few months ago? Am I making the most of MY potential?” Many martial artists consider their most difficult battle to be their battle against their inner selves.
3) Do what you can. “Do not let what you cannot do interfere with what you can do.” – John Wooden. All of us have different potentials, strengths and weaknesses – like short legs or smaller body frame. Or our life circumstances only allow us to train a certain number of times a week. Or you are dealing with an injury that limits your ability to give your all.
Instead of giving up in discouragement, focus on what you CAN do and don’t let your attitude prevent you from doing that as best as you can. Can only get to class 2 x this week? You probably CAN fit in a short run. Or a few minutes of studying instructionals. Have short legs and frustrated that you are not a triangle choke master? Become the best half guard player that you can. Focus on what you can do!
We will leave you with another quote on success by Coach Wooden:
“Success is peace of mind, which is a direct result of self-satisfaction in knowing you made the effort to become the best of which you are capable.” – John Wooden
What is YOUR favorite motivational quote for Jiu-Jitsu?
Credits: Mark Mullen
Gracie Barra Black belt based in Asia