People who first stumble upon the Black Belt Project might mistake this site as a "martial arts" resource because it uses the term black belt.
Here, I've adopted the term "black belt" and retained it's popular meaning of being a master. The addition of the word "project" means a series of steps to reach a goal and brings me to the heart of the meaning of the Black Belt Project which is:
Master of a series of steps to reach a goal. The goal? To be the master of our own lives.
Because the term black belt is so closely tied to the martial arts, it seemed only natural to adopt the belt system for students of life mastery to define and divide this site into areas of study.
Over the years, I've contemplated how to define these belts and the more I think about and put what I think into action, the clearer picture I have of these areas.
I'm sure that as we move forward, I'll refine my thinking and more clarity will come.
My first task then was to develop specific categories, or belts, and assign them colors. What you will read below is how I chose the colors I did and a descriptions of each of the areas this site will focus on.
In researching colors I found that colors have definitions and the different types of martial arts use different belts, I couldn't match the colors up in a way that matched up to any of those definitions in a way that made sense here for our purposes.
So for reference, here was my thinking of why I chose the colors and the descriptions of each of the belts follows that.
I kept the white belt as a beginning student and the black as the master but in between, I had specific reasons for choosing the colors. The red, yellow and blue are what are called subtractive primary colors. Artists use a palette of red, yellow and blue to create secondary colors like purple (red and blue), green (blue and yellow) and orange (red and yellow).
Since primary colors aren't made by mixing other colors to obtain them, I used them to name the first three colored belts. The red, yellow and blue belts are for areas that are really up to you as an individual to master without involving others. Concepts like mental strength, self-discipline and developing good habits are really activities you do alone and in that way are a lot like primary colors.
The secondary colors of purple, green and orange are mixed from the primary colors and the belts represented by those colors often have other people involved like family and coworkers so I felt this symbolism made sense to use secondary colors for those areas.
The other thing I wanted to do was have the belts build on each other. If you can't get motivated, then you probably aren't taking care of yourself. Taking better care of yourself gives you confidence to get things done because you likely have more energy. And it's hard to enjoy life to it's fullest if you can't pay your bills. So there is some sequencing as to how they were ordered.
Within each belt are numerous areas of study. Taking care of yourself has several. You need to eat right, exercise, groom and get enough rest for example. Because of that I expect this site to be quite deep in each category after some time developing it.
Even so, while the foundation of every student will be the white belt - getting motivated. Sometimes you and I will work on several areas at one time and there will also be some overlap.
I also might bounce back and forth between content for belts as my life takes me there.
Though out this journey, my goal is to be your guide and lead by example. I'm going to practice what I teach. To not only tell you how to master you life, but also show you specific strategies that you can apply to your own life. So, rather than be like a lot of the fluff that I read that doesn't really lead to either lasting change or life mastery, I'm hoping you will see practical application in my methods because I will be doing them too and sharing my results with you.
The road of life can be tough and I'm sure there will be some roadblocks. But that's the challenge I hope to prepare you for to find a way through.
So, in the spirit of using belts as a system of levels to master your life, here are the belts, their colors and the descriptions.
Every student of life mastery should start here. The white belt is the foundation for all of the rest of the belts below. I start every student here because people often struggle getting moving or maintaining momentum in their lives to push them to reach their full potential. As a white belt you will learn how to get started, how to get motivated to get moving, how to visualize what you want, how to build mental strength and how to break bad habits. The main tools of a white belt are a checklist, a mental strength bar and the use of thirty day challenges.
Once you've gotten moving and understand how we are going to measure excellence and mental strength, our first order of business is to get you taking better care of yourself. Eating right, getting exercise, grooming, sleep habits and even what you wear are some of the subjects that we will study. When you feel good about yourself and have confidence, it's a lot easier to get things done and accomplish what you set out to do.
A good system for getting things done is important. Once you know and trust the system you put in place to manage all of the things you have to do, it clears the mind to accomplish even more. Many of us have some digging out to do if we have neglected our control systems for some time. Our goal will be to not only get things done, but get them done in the best order and in the shortest amount of time so we can have more free time to do what we want.
The Thinking belt is all about getting your mind into thinking mode. You'll discover that when you get in shape and you get organized, your mind will start to clear and you will be able to start getting a clearer picture of exactly what it is you want out of life. Planning for goals, how to relax, relieving stress and spirituality are some of the areas that the blue belt will address.
This belt will discuss your family, your friends and your interpersonal interactions with others. Dealing with others is complex but how we deal with others and the way they deal with us is important to a more fulfilling life. Better connections with others help you find ways to achieve what you set out to do as well. Often, people will show up in your life with important skills and traits you might be looking for based on the vision you've developed.
Most of us have to earn a living to pay the bills. This belt is all about making money. Whether you do it from a job, a career or your own business, you have to pay your bills and you have to find a way to make enough money to live the life you visualize. Once you have the money, you have to know where and how to spend it wisely. Once you know how to make money, then you can work on creating independence in your life.
One of my key desires is to just wake up and do what I want to do. Working everyday has it's benefits and is rewarding but after awhile, it's time to let the money we make do the work for us so we don't have to. Investing so that we can live the life we want off of our investments is true freedom. Independence is something that many people discuss but few people realize.
A black belt has mastered their life when they can sit back and enjoy the best that life has to offer. Once we expect excellence from ourselves and then deliver it, it's time to expect excellence in the finer things in life from all of the products we use, the places we go and the fun we have.
Those 8 areas are the belts of the Black Belt Project. As you and I move forward, I'll refine the definitions and add links to the supporting pages that each belt will have.