Proceed and Be Bold – How To Grab Life By The Horns.
**The following is the speech that I prepared and read for Master Khechen’s 2015 East Coast Championship Banquet on March 12, 2016. While you may not recognize some of the names and context, the underlying message still holds some powerful thoughts and reflections worth sharing with you today. Enjoy!
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Our East Coast Championship Banquet is a time for our Association to reflect on the year in passing.
It gives us an opportunity to pause in our pursuits and to simply enjoy and embrace all that has happened – and all that is here.
One of the most significant events from 2015 was the opening of our brand-new Master Khechen location in Cheektowaga under the leadership of Master Khechen, Mr. Parker, and Mr. Jimenez.
Who, over the course of only a few months of being opened have welcomed over 100 students into the program!
In hindsight, it was a brilliant move on Master Khechen’s behalf to add a fourth location to our Association – but several months ago, when we were venturing into the unknown, unsure of how things would turn out – it felt scary, rash, and questionable.
We were already very comfortable where we were, with the staff that we had at each location, and with the routines that we had since become accustomed to.
The opening of the Cheektowaga school would mean a loss of instructors, a tightening of our resources, and a more stress filled Master Khechen.
Most people in most cases would’ve elected to err on the side of comfort and to have stayed right where they were. Master Khechen is not ‘most people’ however, and proceeded with a boldness and excitement that was nothing short of awe inspiring.
What we have come to understand since then, is that we really didn’t lose any instructors; we, in fact, gained instructors both at the new location and within our own schools because of the new opportunities that were provided.
Sure our resources may have started off tightened, but over the long run, and under the leadership and guidance of Master Khechen, Master Greco, Master Schiele, and Master Wright – our resources have and are only going to continue to multiply as we continue to spread the martial arts way of life to our students and communities.
And sure, Master Khechen may have had some stressed filled months trying to manage three locations while juggling the opening of a fourth, but with that stress – that eustress – we have all become stronger, more independent, and more productive than we have ever been before.
You see, life can only be understood backwards; but it must be lived forwards.
When we’re in the moment, venturing into the unknown is scary.
…Give a speech in front of a group?
…Compete in a martial arts tournament where I could lose?
…Share my art with my people who might not like it?
…Invest in something big that might fail?
…Much better to stay within my comfort zone and avoid scary situations like that.
But in hindsight, what moments stand out from the rest?
It’s the bold moments that do.
The moments when you took a chance and did something remarkable – something outside of the norm.
…Something that took your breath away; something that gave you butterflies; something that got your heart beating a thousand miles a minute.
Go ahead and reflect on your previous year… Which moments stand out?
I’m willing to bet it’s the bold moments that do.
…And opportunities to be bold are not few and far between – they’re every day.
They’re in how you converse with other people: How are you doing today? “…Good.” or “Alive and well and ready to tackle the challenges of the day with an open and curious mind.”
They’re in how you spend your down time: TV and video games? or Reading and writing and sharing your art with the world so as to better understand what makes us human and how we can grow and contribute with the time we have on earth.
They’re in how you choose to express yourself: Social media drama and celebrity gossip? or Deep personal reflections, martial arts competitions, and positive contributions.
Each moment greets us with the same potential for intense and remarkable living as the last.
Life is not something that you sit back and watch go by; Life is something that you climb on to and grab by the horns.
…And every time you take a risk, stroll outside of your comfort zone, and flirt with the possibility of failure – you tighten that grip.
So grab on tight, dance with your nerves, and face that fear as you move forward in life, experiencing what it means to be alive and embracing the moment – with the people you love.
Life is what’s happening to us right now. Proceed and be bold.