"Perspective pries her once weighty eyes and it gives you wings." -Incubus, Nice to Know You

Humility is the cornerstone virtue of our fight team. Frankie and the crew arrive each day to improve their Jiu Jitsu by putting themselves in the worst positions with the best training partners. Where so many of us possess an ego, they house a burning desire to learn and grow.

It is their strong vision which makes this possible. They recognize that the mountains exist out there, and that training is simply the means of acquiring the proper gear for future climbs. By understanding the war is more important than today’s battle, their relationship to training never becomes a battle.

We can all benefit from their example. The purpose of training is to improve, not to do better than your friends or increase your self-worth relative to your peers. This truth extends off the mat into the rest of our lives, but in a way you might not expect.

For the majority of us who don’t compete, we have no date on the calendar on which we must perform. Our lives are the performance. And, since no particular day is more meaningful than the others, we put added pressure on today which causes us to stumble. As Tony Robbins has said,

“Most people overestimate what they can accomplish in a year – and underestimate what they can achieve in a decade.”

When we focus solely on today, the load we carry becomes burdensome. Getting submitted in training, requesting a raise at work, starting a conversation with your crush, all seem devastatingly significant. But we can learn much from the mindset of our teammates. There is no losing today because, in regards to the big picture, there is no potential for winning either.

It is the heavy focus on today that impedes our progress today. I know this first-hand. I have decided the best use of my time is to grow so I have more to offer others, and as a corollary, I spend so much time in study that I actually neglect the people for whom I study in the first place.

But did you catch the contradiction?

This post began by saying not to worry about today and to focus on the big picture. Now I highlight my fault of focusing on the big picture and missing today. And this reveals the subtle truth which so often evades our grasp:

Today is the big picture.

Because, as Annie Dillard reminds us:

“How we spend our days is, of course, how we spend our lives.”

We remember the handful of big events of our lives: the weddings, the marriages, the accomplishments in sport and business, the birth of a child. But those events often represent just a few days of the thousands that we are given in a lifetime.

The majority of life is lived between the highlights. When we remember this, today somehow becomes less daunting, but more meaningful. The daily decisions carry less weight but are given more significance. We become less serious but more sincere.

Sometimes it takes the big picture to help us see today more clearly, and remind us that today is special because our calendar is empty.