Sustainable Success

We must know ourselves, our boundaries, and our limitations if we are to be sustainably successful.

It is easy to do almost anything for a little while.

We can push ourselves, or allow others to push us, to our limits, and even beyond them, and be successful for a time.

But, at some point, our limits begin to push back.

We hit a wall.

We run straight into our own boundaries.

Whether we ignored them, denied them, or were ignorant of them, these boundaries exist.

They are as real as we are.

And, if we fail to establish, respect, and maintain these boundaries for ourselves and others, we will crash right into them.

Even if outwardly we have been successful by pushing ourselves and allowing others to push us up to and even beyond our own limits, our success will be short-lived if we do not back off and honor our truth.

Our truth is that we can only do so much, we can only take so much, and we can only manage so much before we break.

This is not success.

Success, by definition, must be sustainable.

Success is a lifelong effort.

We must, therefore, learn to move at a pace and carry a load that we can maintain for many years to come, lest we find ourselves failing at our very attempt to succeed.


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 Kogen Dojo Self Defense Academy where he teaches Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu.

All photos by Robert Van Valkenburgh unless otherwise noted.*

*Robert Van Valkenburgh’s black and white photography can be seen at My Darkness To Light

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