I used to not be able to stand Tony Robbins. I thought he was just a guy trying to get rich off of late night infomercials. Recently, he was a guest on a podcast I listen to frequently, The Tim Ferriss Show. I was going through a pretty serious rough patch mentally and emotionally and among other things that hit home on this particular show, he talked about attainment versus fulfillment. He used the example of Robin Williams. A guy that had it all and was loved by all but then tragically committed suicide. To summarize Tony Robbins' point, there had to be something off there where he was focused on attainment rather than fulfillment.
That podcast was a pivotal moment for me. In my 20's I spent a lot of time in Brazil and had seen deep poverty like no where else. I had a healthy and true appreciation for what was important to me and how much I had. Somewhere in the move back to Florida from San Francisco, and working for a company I can't stand, I had lost a lot of that.
Thankfully I broke through and I have a rekindled appreciation for all that I am fortunate enough to have. The same Tim Ferris podcast had another guest that when asked if he could put a billboard up somewhere what would it say. He said he would put one up right outside of a mall and have it read "What's inside here won't make you happy". I personally feel that there is nothing wrong with material possessions, as long as with each of those possessions, they are something that we cherish. If you are truly in to cars, they I believe heck yea, work towards your dream car! For most of us though, we just want to get from point A to point B safely. But we so often get caught up in "needing" that nicer car or whatever else the Jones' have.
To bring this back around to Capoeira, I see this often with students both current and ones that are taking a break. They look at another student and they get down because they feel they are "falling behind". This student or that student is progressing in cords faster than they are or just getting better in general. While this may be 100% true, it's only true of the short term. Over time, levels all equal out. When I first met my now teacher and best friend, Mestrando Aranha, I was a student and he was already an instructor on his way to professor. Light years ahead of me. Fast forward some years, and there was even a short point where we both held the same rank of Professor. He's still light years ahead of me though :) All of this is completely moot because capoeira or any other similar pursuit isn't about attaining the next belt in comparison to your classmates or someone on youtube. It's about your own individual journey and the fulfillment you find in it.
The best way I've found, and I'm pretty sure it's the only way, to find true fulfillment, is to help others. Think about it. Imagine you've just completed an awesome workout. Your muscles feel great, you look at yourself in the mirror and you see yourself getting more trim. Then you look over at someone else in class and they are more fit, more trim, stronger, blah blah blah. You may feel a little deflated if you are focusing on attainment. Now imagine the same thing, but instead of yourself, you just helped someone else in class get through their tough workout. And you see them getting more fit because you are helping to motivate them. You are bugging them to get up and run and so then they bug you to get out and run. Does it even matter at that point who has the lower body fat %? Nope. You are focused on fulfillment and enjoying the process rather than attainment. Cords are great, they mark your progress and achievement. But there is no finish line, no first place and no last place. We all have our own pace that we are working at, and this pace will go up and down throughout the long term. My old mestre (master) used to say, sometimes it's time to play Angola (meaning go slower), sometimes it's time to play Regional (meaning hit it hard!). Both games give immense pleasure but in different ways. Enjoy the season you are in while you are in it.
PS - Here is the link to the podcast I referred to.