Henry Ford said, “whether you believe you can or you believe you can’t, you’re right.” The power of your mind is nearly infinite, there is no computer that has the computing power that your brain because those are finite technologies, there’s no chance to “expanding your computer” the way you can expand your mine. However, computers were designed to function the way the brain does, making the brain the ultimate computer. Like a computer your brain processes inputs (your experiences) and produces outputs (your thoughts and beliefs). So, it stands to reason that if you put garbage in, you get garbage out. These things shape our focus.

What you focus on determines your outcome. If you stop and tell yourself that you’re not worthy, you’re just this way, you can’t do this, or any other limiting belief you’re right. Like what Henry Ford said, if you tell yourself that you can’t do something you’ve defeated yourself before you even get started. In my opinion we shouldn’t even go so far as to call ourselves normal, average, or even good. We shouldn’t want to be good, we should be OUTSTANDING and we should work within ourselves to lead outstanding lives.

Choongsil, our philosophy of Constant and Never-ending Improvement, begins with the focus that we as human beings have unlimited potential—that there is nothing that we can’t accomplish. The first step in developing this idea as the mantra of your life is by telling yourself two things: first, that you are a worthy person who deserves the rewards that come with hard work, strong values, and a deep spiritual life. The second thing you must tell yourself is that nothing is out of reach, that you CAN do anything you set out to do.

Obviously, as I’ve said before, you can’t just tell yourself these things you must back up what you’re telling yourself with your actions. Get up right now and do something that you’ve never thought you could do. If you want to run marathons start by focusing on the fact that you can run a marathon, that there is no reason you can’t run a marathon, and then go take a 30-minute walk around your neighborhood. Wait Mr. Cabrera, I can’t run a marathon because I have an injury, or I’m out of shape, or the one I fall prey to…I don’t have time. There’s those limiting beliefs again. When you back up what you tell yourself with your actions you begin to reinforce those things that you tell yourself and as you do it and do it and do it the I can’s begin to automatically replace the I cant’s.

What you focus on is the beginning of leading a Black Belt Life. I have to tell you, I’m not speaking from up high on the mountain either. For me, focusing on the idea that constant and never-ending improvement is possible and necessary is still a daily task that I must always work on and I’ve been doing the martial arts for my entire life and grew up in a world of I CAN. A lot of times I’ll focus on what I did wrong and completely ignore what I did right. Such as when a student leaves the school, I may stop and think about the last few times I interacted with that student and wonder what it is that we did to drive that student away when if may not be us at all, it could be them.

Another way that I place limiting ideas on myself, like I alluded to before is the “I don’t have time…” or the “I’m too tired…” excuse. The time when I get to do my own practicing is usually after all the other classes are over, or during the day before classes start. During the hours we hold class, as should be the case, we devote to fulfilling the needs of our students. However, there are times when I don’t practice because I’ve told myself that I don’t have time (during the day) because I have this newsletter to right, or this person to talk to or this business to visit. And other times I tell myself that I’m just too tired after teaching classes from 1:30 in the afternoon straight through until 7:30, because teaching does require a lot of energy.

The thing that I catch myself in is that there is always time. If I really don’t have time during the day, there’s certainly time when I can practice after classes. The point is that I change what I tell myself and focus on why I can, rather than why I can’t. You can do this too. It’s simply a matter of how you focus

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