The Difficult Thing Is For Something

Do the difficult thing first, but do not stop there.

As children, we want to have fun. We want to play. We want to do what is easy, what feels good, and what makes us feel free. We want what we want immediately, with no compromise, and we want to be able to change our minds on a whim with no consequences.

We must be taught to do that which is difficult, that which is necessary, that which is for others, and that which is for the future. We must be taught to think beyond the moment, beyond ourselves, and beyond immediacy and want. We must be taught to be disciplined, considerate, generous, and to do what we must in this moment so that we can do and have what we want in the future.

While these lessons are vital to our development, equally important is the lesson that all of the work, the discipline, and the drudgery should be for something, that it should serve a greater purpose, that our time is valuable, and that we are doing that which is difficult not for difficulty’s sake, but to improve the quality of our lives, our circumstances, and our relationships.

Holistic Budo: As it is in budo, so too it is in life. As it is in life, so too it is in budo.

Robert Van Valkenburgh is co-founder of Taikyoku Mind & Body and Kogen Dojo where he teaches Taikyoku Budo and Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu.

All photos by Robert Van Valkenburgh unless otherwise noted.

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