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Learn from the best


"I cannot do everything, but I can still do something. I will not refuse to do the something I can do!"  - Helen Keller
How can you be the best you can be? One way is to learn from those who were best they could be.

President Jimmy Carter

President Jimmy Carter in his autobiography, Why Not the Best, tells about his interview with Admiral Hyman Rickover, the father of the nuclear Navy, who served on active duty until he was 83 years old. Admiral Rickover personally interviewed every prospective nuclear officer and made the interviews tough on the novice officers.

When President Carter had his interview, Admiral Rickover asked him what his standing was in his graduating class at the Naval Academy. President Carter said "I swelled my chest with pride and answered, sir, I stood 59th in a class of 820!" and then I sat back to wait for the congratulations.
Instead of congratulations, the Admiral Rickover asked, "Did you do your best?" President Carter said he started to answer, "Yes sir," but he thought about who he was talking to, gulped, and admitted, "No sir, I didn’t always do my best." President Carter said the Admiral just looked at him for the longest time and then asked only one more question, which the President said he has never been able to forget, and which he was never able to answer—the Admiral asked, "Why not?"

If you are not the best, it doesn’t mean you are a failure. If you are not the best you can be, it doesn’t mean you are a failure. You are only a failure when—you do not try to be the best you can be. If you are not willing to do your best while training in the martial arts, then don’t waste your time. If a martial art is to have a real meaning in your life, you must dedicate yourself to trying to do your best every time you train or compete. As the Army slogan once said, "Be all you can be."

President Theodore Roosevelt

Theodore Roosevelt, President of the United States in the early 1900s, was a true warrior. He recruited his own U.S. Army regiment, the famous Rough Riders, to fight in the Spanish-American War of 1898. During his charge up San Juan Hill during the war, he cried out "I’m going to take that hill! Who’s coming with me?" His credo is an inspiration to martial arts students seeking to be the best.
"It is not the critic who counts, not the man who points out how the strong man stumbled, or now the doer of deeds could have done better. The credit belongs to the man who is actually in the arena; whose face is marred by sweat and dust and blood; who errs and comes short again and again; who knows the great enthusiasms, the great devotions, and spends himself in worthy causes; who at the best, knows in the end of the triumph of high achievement, and who at the worst if he fails, at least fails while daring greatly, so that his place shall never be with those cold and timid souls who know neither victory or defeat."

President Calvin Coolidge

To be the best requires perseverance. The following quote is attributed to Calvin Coolidge, President of the United States in the 1920s.
"Nothing in the world can take the place of persistence. Talent will not; nothing is more common than unsuccessful men with talent. Genius will not; un-rewarded genius is almost a proverb. Education alone will not; the world is full of educated derelicts. Persistence and determination alone are omnipotent."
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