Lessons that Have Helped Shape My Life: Sensei Peter Durrant
“If it is to be, it is up to me”
Accepting responsibility for our lives is one of the highest forms of human maturity – and one of the hardest. Many people, who are not as happy or successful as they could be, find reasons outside themselves as to why things are the way they are. They blame the government, their parents, their boss, their partner, anything or anyone else. By shifting the blame, they feel like they are not in control of their life and thus powerless to do anything about it. This summed up my way of thinking many years back. Once I learned and accepted this lesson, things began rapidly changing – because I began changing. Every time something did not work out for me, instead of casting blame, I asked myself “how can I ensure this does not happen again?” And, “what can I do better to ensure the next time I am a success”.
“Focus on what you want”
I was taught this lesson early on in my time with GKR and once I embraced it, my life changed forever. I have learned in life we never get what we want. Instead, we get what we focus on. Everybody wants, but not everybody gets….because not everybody focuses on what they want. Why is it that of all the car accidents on open roads, 9 out of 10 hit the pole, when the pole is only 30 centimeters thick and there are 30 meters of empty space until the next pole? Because they say to themselves “Don’t hit the pole” They don’t want to hit the pole but their focus is on the pole and as a result, they experience the pole. I now understand that life is a self-fulfilling prophecy. I look for the good in myself, and others because I know people always get what they are looking for.
“Things turn out best for those who make the best of how things turn out”
This is another key lesson that has shaped my life as it helped me come to terms with the fact that I cannot control ‘everything’ that happens in my life. However, I can control how I respond to what happens. If life throws me lemons, I can make lemonade. I know now that my attitude is my greatest asset. I know that whatever life dishes out I can handle it. Developing a positive mental attitude is the secret to happiness and it is something I work on developing every single day.
“The biggest rewards you will receive in life are when you displayed great courage”
When I think about what I am most proud of in my life, or my greatest achievements, invariably they are the times that required the greatest amount of courage. I don’t mean the type of courage that involved slaying a dragon to save a princess. I mean the type of courage needed to follow your dreams, to believe in yourself, to make a tough decision, to persist in the face of adversity, to face your fears, to attempt what you never thought possible. The moments in my life where I was tested the most, are the ones I will never forget and the ones that have given me the most growth. Understanding this lesson has helped me to look at challenges in a completely different way. It’s not that I no longer fear them, as it is said that ‘courage is not the absence of fear, but taking action in spite of the fear’, but I now see them as opportunities to grow.
“Do what you love to do and you will never work another day in your life”
As children, we all wanted to do something special with our lives. For me, it was to play for Australia in a sport. This lesson is one I heard in high school, and therefore, through my life, I was constantly looking for something that would capture my heart. It was perhaps this lesson that helped me find the courage to move from my small country town of Wagga to Australia’s biggest city, Sydney. However, in Sydney, it did not happen immediately for me and I worked some jobs I far from love. When the opportunity to start GKR full-time arose, although it seemed completely different from anything I had ever done, again, it was this lesson that gave me the courage to pursue it. As it turned out, starting with GKR full-time was the best decision I ever made. Not only do I love what I do every day, but the full-time training helped me make the finals for kata and kumite in a GKR Karate World Cup….. So in some way, I did get my dream to represent Australia in sports.