“If you want success, figure out the price, then pay for it” -Scott Adams, How to Fail at Almost Everything and Still Win Big


There is a remarkable difference between wanting and doing. Action, it seems then, is the dividing line between wishing for something and willing it into existence. Most people are not free from want. There is always something more to achieve and something more to accomplish. The work never ends despite what notches we’ve collected on our belts.

In JiuJitsu, it is no different.

You hear your training partners, maybe even yourself and maybe even your coaches voice a desire into the world. “This is what I will accomplish this year.” We’ve all got good intentions and for most of us, the things we desire to achieve are noble if not glorious. The thing is, what you crave, comes at a cost. Success has a price. The higher the level of success, the more you will pay for it.

The price you will pay for a world championship will be higher than the cost you will pay for winning a tournament at the local level. The cost you pay for a local competition gold will be higher than the cost of losing a few pounds. The cost for losing a few pounds will be higher than the cost of joining a school and never showing up. You get the idea.

When it comes to training, an obvious cost is our body. We put our bodies through the ringer in hopes that it will be stronger, faster and much more resilient to the daily stress of living life –yes sitting on a coach is worse for you than training and spending a few hours at your job is probably more of a mental health risk than a couple of hours at BJJ.

What a lot of us don’t take into consideration, however, is that the price we pay for success isn’t just limited to our bodies and minds. Success comes at the price of our friends, our families, and all of the other things in life that maybe we want but simply do not have the time for. Happy hours and vacations are sacrificed for the gains actualized by training. A weekend spent traveling to compete comes at the cost of a weekend spent visiting one’s family and creating memories with loved ones. This is a higher level of success that most people are not cut out for.

Or maybe we do not choose a great level of success. Maybe your goal is simple and does not require much energy or sacrifice. Maybe, at the very least, your goal is just to be active for two hours per week and justify the beer and pizza that were binged on during the weekend. That’s a fine goal to have and you won’t be sacrificing much for it, but for the person that craves more, two hours per week is not an option. Pizza and beer (unfortunately) are usually not either.

Why Goals are Worthless

A goal is the equivalent to “wanting JiuJitsu”.  Simply setting a goal is worthless because it is simply putting a desire out into the world. The actual action and the actual system that will allow you to reach those goals is the actual training JiuJitsu. Living and training JiuJitsu requires a system, otherwise your goals are just wishful thinking.

There is a lot of BS out in the world about goal setting. It’s great, don’t get me wrong, but having goals is worthless if you do not have a system in place to accomplish it. I can claim to want a world championship all day long but if my system includes sitting on my couch watching a soap opera and skipping training sessions, then my system is a failure and a world championship will cost much more to me than someone who has identified a system. The better your system, the less you will pay.

Out in the world, contrast the millionaires that spend a few hours per week working and others that spend entire days from dusk ’til dawn working on their businesses. Who has the better system? Who paid the better price?

Identifying your goals are only a small step in the process to achieving success in JiuJitsu, however, it is still wanting to train JiuJitsu and not actually training JiuJitsu. The next step is to put systems in place. Pick your days and times to train and execute. Deviate from the plan if you must, but only if the system is not working. A system can be amended, but the goal is the same.

Once you have established your system, you can begin to execute. Executing is the first step to actually training JiuJitsu and willing your goals into existence as opposed to just desiring them or wishing upon the Gods of Success.

Sign up here for my thoughts on goal setting and how to implement sound training systems

Hey everyone, thank you for reading. I hope all of you are training today or doing something to benefit your JiuJitsu as opposed to just hoping to do so. Goal setting in JiuJitsu can be a tough process but I’ve managed to scrape up a little knowledge from my graduate education in order to write a series on goal setting in JiuJitsu and how to create and implement systems in order to improve your JiuJitsu life. Awesomely enough, all of the research translates well into everyday life so sign up for my mailing list! The first part will be ready soon!

Leave a Reply