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James Sogi

Philosopher, Juris Doctor, surfer, trader, investor, musician, black belt, sailor, semi-centenarian. He lives on the mountain in Kona, Hawaii, with his family.

Hard Work, by Jim Sogi

Power and grace. Those who have achieved mastery of their craft perform with power and grace, making moves of great difficulty with apparent ease, executed with strength and individual flair. Young tennis champion Henin-Hardenne, sensei aikido master Ueshiba, surfer Shane Dorian: all perform feats of strength and astounding speed with apparent ease that belies years of painful training, many setbacks, losses, doubt and sacrifice. The road to mastery is long and hard. A highly ranked tennis player once said it takes about five years to learn the basic skillset of almost any human endeavor and to perform at journeyman level, whether in sport, carpentry, law, trading or cooking. Surpassing journeyman level requires continuing devotion, love and passion. Each day, continual failure on the road to success is another reason to quit, another reason to make excuses, another reason to rationalize, slack off , blame others, and avoid personal responsibility. Masters continually train, learn, reinvent, re-examine every aspect of their areas of expertise, and the quest becomes not just an examination of a sport, profession or avocation, but a quest to learn who we are as humans, the nature of our existence and purpose. This quest marks the achievement of success. As John Wooden says, it is not the comparison with others' performance, it is doing the best that an individual is capable of. As Batman says,  we are not defined by who we are inside, but by what we do.


Jim Sogi, May 2005

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