It is accepted by most (not all) that in order to be successful we need to make sacrifices. Here Simon talks about his own sacrifices and those made by the people who inspire him.
Sacrifices; From Fighter to Writer
By Simon Morrell
For many years I yearned to be a writer but how? How could I write as I had no story? Alongside the pen stood my boxing gloves as I also had a burning desire to be a fighter. And there was my story. My vehicle to drive my scribble was my stories and journeys in martial arts and the fight world in general.
As a young man I suffered with dreadful anxiety to the point I became housebound (agoraphobia) and suffered dreadful panic attacks but I knew there was something for me, something better…I just had to find it.
Find it I did when as a teenager I was introduced to Karate and was immediately besotted. This was what I needed in my life, this was purpose but I quickly realised it came at a cost. That cost was sacrifice. My sacrifice was leaving the sanctuary that my front room had become. No more daytime TV (a blessing in itself), no more self pity and no more hiding…sacrifice.
Whilst my initial fear didn’t disappear immediately it was subdued somewhat and that was reward itself. I was delighted to be training, to be out in the real world and to be part of something. After months of training I caught the eye of an instructor who suggested I fight in a big national tournament some sixty mile from home. “Impossible,” I told myself. “I have only just learnt how to travel three miles from my house.” But again the reward was there and so I plucked up every ounce of courage I had and made the trip. As a white belt (beginner) losing my first fight to a black belt (expert) was no shame and I received accolades that boosted my confidence. The sacrifice of making such a journey was again far outweighed by the rewards I received; self esteem.
I quickly became accustomed to sacrificing things for the benefit of a better life. Fast forward twenty or so years and I was now comfortable in my skin. I was training six nights a week and slowly making a name for myself but the bigger the prize the bigger the tests. I was away with my family in Florida on a business trip with a holiday planned afterward. Knowing I had been entered for a fight back home in the U.K. I had an agonising choice to make; the sun drenched sand of St Pete’s beach or the prospect of a cold Sunday afternoon at a local fight pit, throwing hands. Those sands never stood a chance.
My dad (who was never a fan of my training) was surprised and ever so slightly impressed. “You are giving up a two-week holiday to go home and fight? Why would you do that?” he asked.
“Because I want to be successful at it. If I don’t put it in, I don’t get it out.” So Julie and I said goodbye to my parents and took the next flight home. Seventy-two hours later I lined up to fight and took another step closer to black belt…sacrifice.
Sacrifice can take many shapes, have many faces from the ordinary man to the celebrities. Both are successful due to making the big ‘S’. I was impressed by the efforts made by a friend of mine and his family when they had pretty much lost everything due to their business collapsing. Tired beyond belief from stress they were down to their last £400 and had a chance for a break away. At the same time a new business venture presented itself and a choice had to be made; Spend their £400 on a few days in a cabin or use the £400 to invest in the opportunity to start again. A family meeting was held and they took door number two. Today they run a very successful art business with a waiting list of clients and an international reputation all because of sacrifice.
Their efforts are no different, no less than that of Bruce Springsteen's own ‘S’. As a young musician on the verge of stardom he stayed when others went. At a recording session with the E Street band the day drew to a close and the band made to leave for the night. Springsteen waved them goodbye and stayed in the studio until the wee small hours of the morning perfecting the sound of a drumstick on snare. It had to be just right but getting it so meant going the extra mile and making sure. Today Springsteen is probably the most famous rock ‘n roller in the world…sacrifice.
So it is accepted that sacrifice must be made but many people don’t. The student who contacts me to tell me they can’t afford that night’s training session yet later on post on social media photographs of themselves in the pub. Cigarette in mouth, pint in hand, glassy eyed and no doubt looking forward to a takeaway meal on the way home. That same student will more often than not message me the next day (nursing a hangover). “I desperately want to become a black belt, I want what you have, my own dojo and a career in martial arts,” they will tell me. The cold truth is quite simply they are not prepared to do what I (and many like me) do.
The same can be said for a guy I knew who was well and truly broke. Lady Luck knocked at his door and handed him a well-paying job but here was the catch; He had to work on a Saturday morning some 100 mile from where he lived. Full of enthusiasm he talked of how this was a fresh start with some much needed money…until Friday night came along. The bright lights of his local ale house and the company of his mates was too much to resist and so he binned the job opting for a boozy night and a well earnt lie in bed on the following morning. Funny, no money yet a belly full of ale? I saw him watch on enviously as a mutual friend bought himself a new car.
“How the hell can he afford that?” he asked with a mouth so bitter it was hard to listen to him but the answer was obvious.
“You have no idea how hard he works or what he gives up to get a car like that,” I informed him but I knew it was on death ears. Our hero would never give up his Friday night but was driven by envy.
So next time you see someone on the up, doing well for themselves. Next time you read in the local paper of a black belt’s success at a tournament and next time you hear of a young musician taking the business by storm ask yourself what they have sacrificed for it all. The ask yourself if you would make the same choice yourself…it is worth it in the long run.