A Life-Changing Lesson from Ninja Warrior Jimmy Choi

Meet Jimmy Choi who just returned to another season of the American Ninja Warrior TV show and has a powerful lesson to teach us: Get out there and do your best. 


Jimmy, 41, was diagnosed with an early onset of Parkinson’s Disease (PD) at the age of 27.

Parkinson's disease (PD) is a chronic progressive neurological disease that is linked to decreased dopamine production in the substantia nigra and is marked especially by tremor of resting muscles, rigidity, slowness of movement, impaired balance, and a shuffling gait.

Currently, there’s no cure for it.

Except, the only thing that’s incurable is Jimmy’s optimism and determination.

What can you and I learn from Jimmy?

Show up.

No matter how hard it is or might seem.

Show up.

Give it your all.

We miss 100% of the shots we don’t try.

So, show up.

Do your best. Forget the rest.

Doing your best doesn’t mean working yourself to the point of physical, emotional, and mental breakdown.

It means doing what you can.

It means not shying away.

It means showing up even if you feel shame about “not being good enough”.

Thinking you’re not good enough is bullshit.

Good enough according to whom?

Is Jimmy not good enough in the eyes of his two kids?

Is Jimmy not good enough to compete in the American Ninja Warrior?

Showing up is half the battle.

You don’t need to have all the answers, or even a third of the answers, to show up.

You may not have Parkinson’s, but you can still make things happen.

And there are many ways to show up, and here are some ideas:

1) Seize the day. As cliché as it sounds, it's true: every day is a gift. Wake up and give each day your best. Some days will be better than others, but what counts most is that you showed up and had another opportunity on this Earth.

 2) Tackle a project head on. You've been meaning to write that book, learn a new language, plan a trip, or even clean your closet and donate the clothes? What are you waiting for? It won't be perfect—nothing is, and it all may fail, but what matters is, again, that you give it a try.

3) Follow your dreams. Take a moment right now (yes, pause reading this blog) and write down one dream you have in this very moment. What is one step you can take to achieving it? Why wait?

4) Someone needs you. If someone seeks you out, show up. Follow the Platinum Rule: give them what they need. At the very least, offer a willing ear, be present, and listen with compassion (instead of thinking of a response or a fix). Doing so changes the world, and showing up for those in need will change you, too. For the better.

5) Little things. Showing up doesn't have to be a big production. Pausing to smell the roses or asking "how are you?" and actually waiting to hear the response is a form of "showing up." Do it.

We don’t get to control what happens to us, including when a disease might strike, but we do get to decide how we react to it.

As Jimmy Choi showed us, regardless of what ails us, we can still show up.

Be like Jimmy and show up. 

Adi Redzic