I believe in the lyrics to “Bravado” by the rock band Rush: “We will pay the price, but we will not count the cost.” The song is about overcoming metaphorical challenges, describing how the speaker would handle each situation with the chorus. This song is more than entertainment, but a key to unlock successes in life.
Many of the activities I do require the mentality of “Bravado,” one of them being martial arts. Challenging through strenuous workouts on the mind and body, martial arts demand utmost concentration and conviction in order to perform the proper movements correctly several times in succession. Because I am a first degree black belt in my art of Kuk Sool Won, I know what is acceptable for each level of students before teaching them more. The movements they are doing, the forces they are applying and where they are being applied, and where they are within their environment are what students need to know. Without this knowledge, students cannot carry out the movements efficiently or safely, and I cannot teach them new information.
My ethics force me to give my all, even when I desire not to. Deep down inside, I know that if I don’t utilize my full resources and fail, I will never know how I would have done had I used all my resources. While taking Regents chemistry, the workload was nonexistent and the concepts were easy to understand, so I never desired to put much effort into that class. But heedless of the cost, and my ethic pushing me onward, I would do extra problems in packets and finish homework in class.
There are times this ethic becomes very strong and continues from mental effects to include physical. On occasion, I find myself literally with tunnel vision, adrenaline in my veins, my intensity and tempo increasing without my knowledge, the singularity of mind that hones my focus down to a single goal. At a young age, when I raced soap box derby cars, my dad christened this state my “Zen Mode.” Now that I have matured, it becomes easier to understand and enter, especially now that I compete in three scholastic sports, including cross country, Nordic skiing, and track, on top of Kuk Sool. My knowledge of my surroundings and my movements become instinctive. My ability to hear becomes extremely limited, to only a few feet, as all my forces turn inward. All my energies are focused; I am in my element, my preferred state of mind. Whether my own or someone else’s, it is here that I can exceed all expectations, cross all boundaries, surpass all standards.
Stirring my deepest convictions, I conclude with the following verse from “Bravado,” which is one of my personal favorites for its veracity in real life:
After the music stops
There’s only the sound of rain
All the hope and glory
All the sacrifice in vain
And only the love remains
Though everything is lost
We will pay the price
But we will not count the cost
After all is said and done, even though everything we know is gone, our passions will still remain. I believe in paying the price without counting the cost. I believe in putting my complete energy in my challenges and tasks; otherwise there is no point in making the attempt.
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