Let me tell you what excites me about life: I can become expert in anything. I can. If I have the passion and the dedication and the courage to invest my time, my energy and my money into any given subject I can become not just a class act but a world class phenomenon. And I am a very ordinary man. So if I can do it, anyone using the same process can do it also.
I was invited to America a few years ago (twice) by Chuck Norris to teach my system of martial arts to a few hundred of his black belts. After my class I sat with Chuck over a cup of tea and we chatted. Mostly about his life (because I was fascinated), how he met Bruce Lee how he trained and sparred with Lee and how eventually Chuck got into films. He told me that, after Bruce Lee died, there was a huge gap left in the martial arts film world that needed to be filled. Chuck decided that he was the man for the job. Even though he knew very little about the machinations of film, he knew that if he dedicated himself to the process, as he had dedicated himself to martial arts (wining the world championships 3 times) there was nothing he could not achieve. Initially he found it very difficult to get a starring role in any film. He went to acting classes, but felt massively restricted by them, he knocked on lots of doors, they were either slammed in his face or he was asked to leave his number in the bin. In short no one was interested in Chuck Norris. Not one to give up on his dream (but unable to find any decent martial art scripts) Chuck finally decided to write his own script, with himself pencilled in as the lead actor. He did this and finally, after a lot of wangling and chasing and very hard work the film was made. It was not a great success (he told me) and yet……there was one scene in the film, just one, that people really liked (it was a scene where Chuck did a flying kick through a car windscreen) and that was enough to get him his second gig. He fully immersed himself into acting and film making and ended up as probably the most famous martial arts film star on the planet. This did not come by accident, it wasn’t dropped into his lap it came by design. He was not offered his success on a platter, he had to go out there, invest heavily in himself, learn his trade and create the success that he could see in his mind’s eye. At one point in the conversation Chuck said to me, ‘Geoff you could do this, anyone could do this, it’s a choice.’ I knew it was true. What I loved about working with Chuck Norris was the fact that he was a very ordinary man, in fact he seemed almost embarrassed by the attention he was getting because he knew that he was an ordinary man, even if he was living an extraordinary life. And this is what excited me the most, and it is the point that I try to get across to as many people as possible: we are all ordinary, all of us, but we can choose to do extraordinary things.
Let me tell you about some other ordinary people living extraordinary lives: I have a young girl on my masterclass at the moment called Laura. She is seventeen. She is very lovely, a strong martial artist, but like me and the other people on the course she is ordinary. This eighteen year old ordinary girl earned over £20,000 last month. She runs a full time martial arts academy (under the marvellous Ivan Rolls) and she has about 300 students. She is serving a lot of people with her skills and her knowledge and her expertise. On the other hand I have friends who are the most amazingly talented fighters, but they are too afraid to earn money from their skills.
Another friend (a very famous martial artist) was telling me how one of his students in Japan runs his own school and he has 5000 student. His dojo is so big that it has an escalator between floors. This wonderful teacher is pretty much unknown on the martial arts circuit, he is not in the magazines, he does not have a big profile, he is an ordinary man who has invested in himself and developed great skills. He decided that he wanted to serve 5000 students, and that is what he has achieved.
Chuck, Laura, Ivan and the Japanese instructor all have two things in common; they are all ordinary people (living extraordinary lives) and they have all heavily invested in themselves, with their time, with the money and with their patience.
Chuck was a young nervous boy with a stutter who trained with the best people in the world to learn new skills and overcome his insecurity.
Laura invests a proportion of everything she earns on growing her own skills.
Ivan literally travels the globe to be in front of the best teachers. He has just come back from Hawaii where he attended a Tony Robins convention.
JKD supremo Rick Young is a beautiful, but ordinary man. When I first met him he was still working as a postman in Edinburgh Scotland. He used to save up all his money so that, three times a year he could travel to America and train with Dan Inosanto, the Gracies, the Machados, the Dog brothers, Judo Gene LaBell, and just about anyone else that had something to teach him. Rick is now a legendary martial artist because he invested in himself. He invested everything he had in developing the skills that have placed him on the world stage.
All of these people have another thing in common: they all have personal libraries. If there is information out there, they want it, and they are prepared to work very hard to pay for it.
In his early days film maker Peter Jackson (Lord of the Rings) did not have the skills to be a great director, and he did not have the money at that time to make films. So he worked Monday to Friday every week in menial jobs earning money just so that, at the weekends, he could make film. He spent all his money and all his time on developing the skills that would one day place him at the Oscars. He was so ordinary back then that the New Zealand Film Board failed to notice him, in fact they practically ignored him. They would give him no support and they would not give him any money. It did not stop him because he invested in himself: his own money his own time and dedication. When you read Peter Jackson’s biography you will be amazed at how ordinary he is was (and is). It is very inspiring to realise that there is not an ‘us and them’ there is just ‘us’, the extraordinary ordinary, a beautiful product of a spinning blue planet.
I see so many people that do not invest in themselves.
They blame time.
They blame finances.
They blame lack of support.
They blame their lot on their ordinariness.
If you want the time you’ll make the time. Time is abundant and it is all yours.
If you want the money you’ll work for the money, you find the money. You have 24 hours in the day to make enough money to invest in yourself.
If you want support, support yourself, when you support yourself eventually others will support you. They’ll have to; you will become so brilliant that they will look inadequate if they don’t.
Everyone is ordinary. Welcome to the planet earth.
Here are a few tips that might help you on your journey into the extraordinary:
• ‘Do’ extraordinary. If you don’t want an ordinary life, don’t do ordinary things. Break yourself free from the mundane, change your routine, take lessons, read books about fantastic journeys, to be extraordinary you must do extraordinary.
Recommended Reading: A Film-Maker’s Journey by Brian Sibley and Peter Jackson
• Invest in you: develop new skills every day. 365 days of the year. The more you invest in yourself the more return you will get. It is the law of reciprocation. Recommended reading: Live Your Dreams by Geoff Thompson.
• Start Slowly. Don’t try and change everything immediately, you may burn out. Make small changes daily until you have full immersion, until you are investing the maximum amount of time possible in yourself.
Recommended reading: ShapeShifter by Geoff Thompson.
• Red lights are green lights. If you move towards something and it scares you, that is a strong indication that you are on the right path. In self development red lights are green lights. Mohamed Ali’s trainer always advised him to face the things he feared until he no longer feared them.
Recommended watching: Know Fear (DVD) a documentary about Geoff Thompson by the award winning Shammasian brothers.
• Go straight to source. Don’t place under the instruction of Master Wong’s best student if you can get instruction from Master Wong himself. Teachings always weaken as you move away from the source, so where you can find the genesis.
Recommended reading: Think and Grow Rich by Napoleon Hill
• Everything is Grist. Everything can be used as a fuel for your journey. No matter where you come from and no matter what you have done, or what you have had done to you, it can all be used as energy. Everything is valuable if you know how to convert it.
Recommended Reading: The Beginners Guide to Darkness by Geoff Thompson.
• Reinvest. Always invest a proportion of your income in self development. Red Bull channels 20% of all their gross earnings back into the company. You should do the same. Van Gogh said that he would rather read than eat, that is how important he felt it was.
Recommended reading: Awaken the Giant Within by Anthony Robins.
• Mimic nature. Look at trees, see how their growth is steady but continuous, you can’t see the growth with your eye it is so slow, but the tree is evolving every second of every day. The schematic for an Oak is in the acorn, the same as the schematic for success is already in the unrealised person. You just need to place yourself in the right conditions for growth: water, soil and light.
Recommended watch: Living Dreams (DVD).
Build a personal library. You think your problems are unique, they are not, thousands before you have faced the same hurdles and overcome them, and many of the greats have written about it. You can learn from them.
Recommended Reading: Psycho Cybernetics by Maxwell Maltz
• Be around greatness. Listen to greatness, read about greatness, watch greatness on the TV and wherever possible place yourself under the instruction of greatness. All the greats marinated in greatness before making the conversion.
Recommended Reading: The Eureka! Enigma by Ron G Holland
• Start now. This minute. If you leave it even for another hour, the window may close. They say that there is no time like the present, but in actual fact there is no time ‘other’ than the present, so if you don’t start now, when can you start?
Recommended reading: The Elephant and the Twig by Geoff Thompson
Life’s potential really excites me: I, you, all of us can become expert in anything if we have the courage to invest in ‘us’. We can all become class acts; there is room for us all to become a world class phenomenon. Even though we are very ordinary, with a bit of dedication and a little elbow great we can all become extraordinary ordinary.