"Failure is only postponed success". That is what I told myself, many times over.
I had waited so long for this moment, trained for this moment. It had been three years since I began my journey, and for much of three years I had kept this day in my mind, preparing myself for this day.
So failing to break the majority of my boards during black belt testing wasn't what I had hoped for, it was crushing to think I would fail this testing. Just boards... between me and a black belt. Everything else was just as I had trained for, but I had been confident that my techniques would carry me through. I knew strength was there, I simply missed. 4 times, all over shot. I assumed I was done, yet I still had fighting to do. Master Ramey didn't dismiss me. He put me in the ring, and for the next hour I fought hard, my eyes flashed I believe.
I didn't care if I was giving all for nothing, I was doing this to prove to myself I had it in me, the black belt spirit that never dies. Failure is an important part of success.
It is said that Thomas Edison when asked about all his attempts before getting the filament right in his lighbulb responded: "I never failed once. It just happened to be a 2000-step process."
It is that spirit that achieves the difficult.
(I believe there is little actually impossible, in the sense that one cannot achieve the impossible, for once it is achieved it is no longer impossible but difficult. It was only perceived as impossible before.)
My mind went back to what I had written in an essay for that very testing I was faced with...
"The “Do” in Tae Kwon Do literally means way of life. That is how I feel about martial arts. A way is a path, and that of a black belt student of Tae Kwon Do is the beginning of a journey I am ready to begin. No matter how hard or how complicated circumstances are in life, the ability to overcome and find victory shall always be my greatest asset. Bring it on."
"Bring it on."
It was on. Was I?
It felt like my dream was postponed. A lot. I watched others break their boards, and held for them, it was hard to not feel a little sorry for myself celebrating their achievements. But a black belt should not feel sorry for himself...
This was not the first time failure would creep up on me, nor the last. I was going to be shaped by this, and be better because of it.
I was given grace. Wednesday March 5th I was faced with the same challenge, over again. I was given a second chance to change my life. This time I wasn't to fail. It was postponed success, but it was success achieved only because I stayed in, and fought till the end, and didn't remain defeated.
I can smile, it is a memory now. It means I begin to face greater challenges, greater odds, and greater victories.
We are only defined by our circumstances if we allow them to define us.