I’ve been told that white belts all make a common mistake: tensing up early, trying to muscle things too much, not going with the flow enough, and as a result, gassing out.
Now I can’t speak for other white belts, I can only speak for myself, but without a doubt this observation is correct for me. It is something that I am now very conscious of, and something I am working hard to change.
I get tense, I try to muscle, and I gas out
All people who begin learning Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu without a grappling background (especially if they are adults when they start) can relate to this apparent paradox:
You are in the middle of a fight, and it is hard and uncomfortable, and you are being told to relax.
It’s correct advice, I can see it, and experienced practitioners know it. It’s like a game of physical chess. You have to wait. You have to be strategic. You have to play your moves correctly, and this often involves relaxing, taking your time and waiting, preserving your energy until the time is right for you to strike.
Many white belts (me especially) will get in and just try to hustle, try to muscle, and push hard from the beginning. This is what makes us easy prey to more technical and experienced practitioners. They know that by getting tense early, and use too much muscle, we will soon fatigue. At the moment the fatigue starts to settle in we become very vulnerable.
It’s one of those things however that can’t just be “understood”. It’s not enough to have a rational appreciation of this advice. I have to transfer this learning on to the mat in order to be successful. Like all good things however, this can only be done with time. It is “slow learning” in that the body has to become conditioned to be comfortable in discomfort, and there are no shortcuts to this form of learning.
This principle: take your time, don’t tense up too early or you’ll run out of gas, has amazing application to business. Particularly those who start a business in direct sales.
I have seen this scenario play out many, many times in our business. We recruit someone. They are initially excited. They “muscle early” meaning they throw themselves into their work (which is good, and which is something we encourage). They really work hard, but they get too “emotionally” connected to the short term results that they are seeking, and if those results don’t come on the time line that they want, they “emotionally” gas out.
Specifically here is a scenario that has direct application to the “white belt gassing out early analogy” explained above:
A new consultant joins our organization. They are excited and enthusiastic and so they blast out the product and the business opportunity to all their friends and family. They get a little business, but not as much as they wanted. Because they went so hard with their friends and family, and didn’t get the results they want, they are a little discouraged. They are a little “gassed out” emotionally, and they start to question their ability to succeed. So as the next month rolls out they don’t put in as much effort as before. This pattern continues until their business is dead within a year.
What they should have done is avoided the “white belt” mentality. They went too tense, too quickly, and they gassed out. They should have been more strategic, let it come, focus on fundamentals, technique and habits, and over time their business would have the results they want.
Those who are experienced, and successful, in our industry know that you can’t build a great business simply by “muscling” it early. You have to take a strategic approach. You have to build proper systems and develop good business habits.
So embrace the long road. it is the only real road that exists anyway.