Sometime in my early thirties, I expressed an interest in jiu-jitsu. My wife – being amazing – bought me a Groupon for a trial at a local studio. I went for about a month – got injured and never came back to that studio.
About a year went by. We’re in a different city now – our current home of San Diego. The local gym had a jiu-jitsu class. So, I’d show up every now and again. But, I was never consistent. Eventually, I canceled the gym membership. Jiu-jitsu was once again out of my life.
The wife got me (I think) another two GroupOns over time. I went to another two studios. I didn’t particularly like either of them. I once again got injured, and never came back after the trial period.
Cue another year. The wife gets yet another Groupon. This time, I stick around. I really liked the studio. Did I get injured? More times than I can count. But, instead of quitting, I kept coming back – sometimes working through an injury so I could keep training.
I kept going and kept training, despite the fact that I was absolutely terrible. Eventually, I got marginally less terrible. To be clear, I am still absolutely terrible. But, over time I’ve noticed that:
- I’ve gotten marginally better.
- There are newbies actually worse at jiu-jitsu than I am.
- Higher level belts who’ve been doing jiu-jitsu longer than I have – but show up rather infrequently – aren’t that great.
In short, it goes without saying that if you keep doing something long enough, you’ll improve. And if you do something more often – and for longer – than someone else, you’ll probably be better than them. Although those statements are super obvious, it’s still fun, and interesting and stimulating to see this happen in my own life. If you do something long enough and keep doing it – no matter how terrible you are at the first time you do it – you will get better.