Practice, a Channel for Change

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At the beginning of every year, people make various plans to carry out for a year. However, until the plan is carried out successfully, there are many crises. Though they make a resolution easily, it is difficult to put it into practice, and it is more difficult to continue it though they practiced it once.

So experts say that perseverance without giving up and repeated practice are the first priority to accomplish a goal. In order to fulfill what we want no matter what it is, we need the “unceasing power” to change commonness to uncommonness and failure to success.

Effort rather than talent

There is no one who sets up a goal and a plan, wanting to fail from the beginning. Then why is it that someone fulfills what he or she wants and others cannot? It is commonly said that those who have a prominent gene and a different talent than others can succeed, but the experts’ viewpoint is different.

A famous expert in leadership says that constant practice rather than one’s born inspiration has a profound effect on success. Great composers like Beethoven, Wagner, Mozart and Bach received inspiration while burying themselves in composition, not just being inspired. They never wasted their time, just waiting to receive inspiration. The attitude of those who succeeded in their fields is all the same.

“People say that I was born naturally talented. However, there is something that they don’t know―I practice at least one hundred times to make people laugh once.”

This is what Charlie Chaplin, a world comic actor, said. Though he received an ovation from the public as a genuine actor with an artistic sense by making the world laugh and cry through his unique character in numerous films, in actuality he read each script so many times that the scripts became worn out for perfect acting.

Pablo Picasso, who is famous as a “Genius Artist,” also kept practicing without putting down pencil and brush during his life. When he was a child, he often went to an art gallery and studied the paintings of famous artists. He was so inspired by Manet’s famous painting, “Le Déjeuner sur L’Herbe [The Picnic on the Grass]” that he painted 140 applied works. Despite his age, he worked so actively that he left over 20 thousands of paintings until he was 92 years old.

Although he had outstanding talent, if he did not practice to make the ability come true, the genius comes to be buried in common life. The biggest factor that distinguishes a genius from an ordinary person is unceasing practice. Even though a person has no special talent, if he repeatedly practices something, he is able to overcome his limitation.

Miracle of 15 centimeters

The reason 99 percent of people remain ordinary is that they do not repeat an action until they reach the stage they want. In order to continue your efforts and practice for your goal, what you should do before setting grand plans is to make concrete plans that you can immediately put into practice in your daily life. If you set up a goal that you will fulfill for a year, you need to make plans for one month, for one week and for one day and put them into action one after another. Otherwise, if something unexpected occurs, you are likely to forget the goals while paying attention to the unexpected.

In July 18, 1989, as Mark Wellman, 29, ascended El Capitan in California, USA, all Americans were moved to tears. Though paralyzed in the lower half of the body, he climbed the 1,000 meter [3,280 ft] rock face only with his two arms. He lifted up his body 15 centimeters [6 inches] at a time, and reached the summit in nine days while clinging to the rope.

What if he had set up the goal vaguely from the beginning? At the great pressure that he should climb up that height, he could have given up soon. However, for the great goal of climbing 1,000 meters [3,280 ft], he set up a possible goal first and moved ahead little by little, and finally he was able to conquer the summit. It was a miracle of 15 centimeters.

You may suffer a failure. What is important is from that moment. If you back down after failure, you may grow away from success forever. However, if you overcome the failure, you can move one more step forward. You must not be dismayed at the failure or give up, but obtain lessons from the failure and remedy your shortcomings to challenge again. Then there will be higher probability of accomplishing what you aimed for.

Samuel Beckett an Irish novelist who was awarded the Nobel Prize in Literature said, “Ever tried? Ever failed? No matter. Try again. Fail again. Fail better.” He emphasized that even though you fail several times, while putting the plan into action, visible and invisible output is left even a little bit. If short-lived resolutions continue constantly, it will continue for 365 days. When we go forward with the mind to make today better than yesterday and tomorrow better than today, we will ascend the summit we want.

The driving force that makes us move toward the goal constantly is eagerness. Eagerness is like a lever that lifts up our limitation. Once we taste frustration, we come to lose our desire and would like to give up. However, when we feel like giving up, we need to think again over how important and valuable the goal is to us. If we did not desire it, we did not even start at the beginning. If we imagine the delight that we will taste after accomplishing it, we will be able to have strength to challenge it again.

It was not only through a small goal that Mark Wellman succeeded in climbing the rock face. After the mountain climbing accident in 1982, he started rehabilitation training and spent a couple of years strengthening his muscular power of the upper body since he could not move his lower part of the body. Although grinding pain was accompanied, he did not stop training because he had eagerness to ascend El Capitan.

There is no beginning that is too late

One of the reasons we do not put into action willingly though we earnestly desire something is because of the thought, ‘Isn’t it too late?’ Even though people agree with the words, “Age is just a number,” most people hesitate and worry because of that number. It is because frustration is ahead of a will to do something, which is shown when they are compared with the people who succeeded at their similar ages or situations.

Just as each flower has a different time of blooming, the time to fulfill each goal is different. Forsythia blooms in spring, and camellia blooms in winter. The point of inflorescence is how beautifully it blooms, not when it blooms. If we have something to accomplish, we must not compare ourselves with others but move toward the goal step by step with conviction. Additionally, we need to forget our past for the new beginning. Whether we succeeded or failed in the past, what is important is what we are doing now for the future.

Colonel Sanders, the founder of KFC the world fast food corporation, started the chicken franchise company for the first time, when he was 65 years old. Though he had experienced failure in his business several times, he did not stick to his past but tried something new. Making use of his experience in running a restaurant, he completed his own special fried chicken. After that, he visited about a thousand restaurants for two years to seek investors, but no restaurant wanted to be a franchise. The year when he was 68 years old, the 1,009th restaurant finally accepted his offer. After that, Colonel Sanders became a legend through his success in the world chicken franchises with 13,000 branches in 80 countries around the world.

What if Colonel Sanders just conceived the idea of chicken franchises that he had resolved at 65? What if he just worried, thinking that it was too late? He would have finished his life while living an ordinary life as an unknown man. However, he dashed toward his goal even at the age of over 60, and could observe how the franchises he had built grew for 30 years.

It is said that however late your start is, it is not too late, and however early you regret, it is not too early. If we have eagerness to fulfill our goal, there is no late start in the world and dreams surely come true.

Practice to reach the kingdom of heaven

. . . what kind of people ought you to be? You ought to live holy and godly lives as you look forward to the day of God and speed its coming . . . But in keeping with his promise we are looking forward to a new heaven and a new earth, the home of righteousness. 2 Pe 3:11-13

We are looking forward to the new heaven and the new earth. The kingdom of heaven is a place where the angels live. Seeing a kind-hearted person, we usually say that he or she is like an angel. Likewise, the angels have beautiful nature such as humility, love, kindness and so on because they resemble God. In order for sinners, who committed grievous sins deserving death in heaven and came down to the earth with blemish and defect, to enter the kingdom of heaven with absolutely perfect nature, they must be newly born again.

In reply Jesus declared, “I tell you the truth, no one can see the kingdom of God unless he is born again.” Jn 3:3

We were incomplete at the beginning, having sinful nature such as arrogance, jealousy, envy, persistence, stubbornness, hatred, etc. There is no one who does not want to change such characters. However, one’s nature cannot be changed at once just as we change the light bulb. It is difficult to change even a trivial habit. Then, how much more difficult it will be to change the nature that has been formed for a life time; it is impossible to change through just one or two attempts! In addition to that, those who are strict to others are likely to be generous to themselves. Though there is something wrong, if it is their own work, they are likely to ignore or rationalize, saying, “This is my way,” or give up.

Just as we polish up our skill and accumulate knowledge that is necessary for our living, we need to practice for a perfect nature. Though it is difficult to change immediately, if we set our destination toward the kingdom of heaven and eagerly desire to get there, we are to change however trivial it is and make ourselves ready to enter the kingdom of heaven.

. . . train yourself to be godly. For physical training is of some value, but godliness has value for all things, holding promise for both the present life and the life to come. 1 Ti 4:7-8

The Chinese Bamboo Tree, which is regarded as the best among bamboos, sends forth sprouts as small as a nail for five years even though it receives enough sunlight and rain. Five years later, however, it grows 80 ㎝ [31.5 inches] a day and grows up to 30 meters [98 ft] long in the end. Through the nutrition accumulated in its roots for five years, it shoots up suddenly.

In the life of faith, we are like this bamboo. God’s words of the living water and Mother’s teachings soak through our hearts before we are aware and make us grow. Therefore, though it is a little bit, if we constantly practice to be reborn, someday we will shine the light without fail.

It is not late yet. Even though we feel frustrated because we make many mistakes rather than produce a visible outcome, if we practice endlessly, planning to make today better than yesterday and tomorrow better than today, we will find ourselves to be changed into a new-self at some point. Let us go forward to our heavenly hometown, looking up at our Heavenly Father and Mother who always help us in the process of our being polished as complete beings. The glorious heavenly crown is waiting for us.

Everyone who competes in the games goes into strict training. They do it to get a crown that will not last; but we do it to get a crown that will last forever. 1 Co 9:25