Grit Your Teeth...
by Sensei Andy Dominey on June 29th, 2011

Unless you have been living underground for the past year, you will have noticed that the world is in a pretty sorry state right now. We have the usual problems in the Middle East, British MP’s using public money as their personal ‘piggy bank’ and don’t even get me started on the global economy (or lack thereof).

This got me thinking about the way people deal with difficult situations. I’m not a religious man, but I know that a lot of people will pray in times like these; asking for help from a higher being who may or may not choose to listen. These people look outwardly for help in times of need. I, however, am the opposite. I have discovered through years of hard choices and hard knocks that looking outwardly for someone to help simply doesn’t work for me. I have learned that there is only one person I can rely on in this world and all I have to do to speak to him is look in the mirror and start talking.

The first time I realized this was when my father died. I was 17 and he left for work just as he always did…but he never came home. Instead, two police officers arrived at the door to break the news to my mother and I that my father had died suddenly at work. At that moment, my world changed forever. My mother and I were never very close, it was always ‘me and my Dad’ and now he was gone. At that moment, I could have fallen apart, but I didn’t. I never cried in front of my family. I didn’t cry at the funeral, nor since. I cried once, the day after he died, in the car alone for about 30 seconds before I pulled myself together and told myself I would become the man my father always saw me as. I could have chosen to spend the next few months and years dwelling on the past, wishing for what might have been but instead I decided to make the most of the time that I had left, forge a relationship with my mother and spend more time on the important things in life. I looked inwardly and found the courage to move on and I have looked inwardly ever since.

The fact that I’m not religious doesn’t mean I don’t believe in God, it simply means that I know my place in the world and I know that right now, if He exists, He can’t help me. In fact, I know He wants me to help myself. That’s why I don’t pray. I’m not trying to say people shouldn’t pray, in fact, praying often serves to change peoples circumstances, not necessarily because God directly intervenes in a persons life but because the belief that someone is out there and is listening gives people the strength to carry on.

What’s important is not how we find strength but the fact that we find it. The strength to carry on, the strength to support someone experiencing a moment of weakness, the strength to face adversity. We all experience things in life which are tough. What defines us is not how those events ultimately unfold but how we choose to face them. Do we fold? Or do we dig in, grit our teeth and tackle them head on…

Posted in Life    Tagged with Perseverance, Determination, Karate, Conflict, Fight, Battle


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