From Shihan's Desk|Leadership|Meditations on Mastery

Never Give Up & The 3 P’s of Success


I want to discuss 3 “P’s” today, which I believe are the key to success at anything and will make the difference for you and I and everyone during this COVID-19 contingency time. Some people are going to use the quarantine situation as an excuse, and come out of this time worst physically, mentally, financially and maybe even spiritually. Others are going to harness the found time and embrace the struggle of finding new and better ways of doing things and come out the other side of this better. We can’t control the things we can’t control; but at least as pertains to the things I can control, I personally plan to be the latter person referenced above- the one who digs deeper and works even harder to come out of this contingency better, stronger and faster than I was before.


The first P is perseverance. Perseverance is persistence in doing something despite difficulty or delay in achieving success.  For the purposes of this blog, I will call perseverance the decision just not to quit. Perseverance is the thing that turns white belts into blackbelts, college students into college graduates, young entrepreneurs into success stories. When I think of perseverance I think of the simple yet eloquent speech of Sir Winston Churchill to his countrymen when they faced what was certainly one of the most ominous times in history and told them that they would never, never, never, never give-in. Read that awesome speech here, as relevant today as when that great leader spoke it. For our purposes Perseverance is related to the analogy of our blackbelt test and stress tests at that level. By the time a student has spent the 3-4 years preparing for that test, they are physically and mentally prepared for the crucible they will endure and demonstrate impeccable perseverance under the immense physical and mental stress of that test; and they emerge it as new Blackbelts.


The second P is persistence. As the definition is persistence is firm or obstinate continuance in a course of action in spite of difficulty or opposition, it would be easy to conclude that it’s really the same as perseverance. For the purposes of this lesson, however, I am calling perseverance the consistent doing of the things that it will take to bring us where we want to be. Perseverance is a kind of attitude- one in which we refuse to give up on the object of our desire- be that getting in shape, writing a book, becoming a blackbelt or whatever. Persistence refers to all the daily disciplines that get us there.


To get in shape I must stick to my diet, workout daily and drink plenty of water while avoiding alcohol and cheat meals. I’m doing this incidentally through a program called 75 hard, and I’m 26 days in. Join me if you want.


Back to the argument, I have to write a little daily to write a book and KMMA students need to train 2-3 days a week to become blackbelts or work towards their next degrees of mastery. Which you can now do virtually, removing the excuse not to during this quarantine. 


I have an important point here, by the way; don’t miss it. I think this is the P that derails people from getting what they want. I know it’s kept me from the level of success that I could have in some areas, while also getting me the success that I do enjoy in others. I suspect for you it may be the same.


I know for a fact that many students quit, and therefore never achieve their goal of being a blackbelt, simply because they allow the routine and the illusion that they have learned it well enough to stop them. Those that stay become great. This distinction is very relevant to our current quarantine situation by the way, so read on and make sure you use this secret to graduate this season with honors!


The third P I want to share with you is for PARI. PARI is an acronym I teach my students that stands for: Plan, Act, Review and Improve. It is a useful way to manage our actions. If perseverance is the attitude that we will never quit and therefore never fail, and persistence is the discipline to do all the daily things that we need to do- to take action; then PARI is the management system to make sure that we are taking effective action and moving ever in the direction of our goals.


These 3 are important for us to have the best chance of achieving our goals always. Life is hard and being a success at anything is hard; that’s why most people settle with average. But becoming a Blackbelt, in the martial arts or in anything we want to be excellent at requires the BELIEF that we can and consequent COMMITMENT that we will never quit; the knowledge and discipline to act in a way every day that moves us closer to our goals, as the great things happen not suddenly, not by accident and usually not even by great actions, but by small, deliberate disciplines done daily.

        For more on this read The Compound Effect by Darren Hardy or The Slight Edge by Jeff Olson


And, finally, things will still go wrong. The road to success is not a straight one, which is why we need to review and improve. I for one didn’t expect my dojo to be closed by a national pandemic this year. 2020 is supposed to be our best year ever. Then, a virus comes and makes it so my students can’t come to me. Will 2020 be the year we fall instead of ascend?


 Of course not! Or, at least, not because of anything I do or that I lay down and accept the situation! No, I will fight harder and longer and stronger and better! The situation has changed, but the mission hasn’t.

So we take our dojo into your homes! If you are not yet a student, email my assistant and she will schedule you in for a free trial.


If you are my student. Never, never, never quit! Click here for the schedule and make sure you get to your 2 classes next week!


Each of us and all of us are faced with a choice!


This COVID-19 contingency will make us each bitter or better. It’s an excuse or a reason.


I refuse to allow this invisible enemy to whip me and, just as I have overcome many obstacles and adversities to bring me where I am today- not where I want to be but better than the little buy that grew up on the pig farm ever hoped- I will overcome this too and be stronger and better when I do.


I hope you’re coming with me too.

Lead With Confidence,


Shihan Stephen Del Castillo