I recently found out I performed well enough at my review matches at the to get promoted to the red belt level. Becoming a red belt means I am moving past the beginning stage, that I have demonstrated a more advanced level of skill. The Warrior’s Cove does promotions based on passing reality-based combat tests. Everyone who gets a promotion has earned it with skill—not just by showing up for six years, putting time in.
Things don't get easier as you move up levels. This is true with everything. You want to get a higher martial arts belt rank? You have to fight harder opponents. You want to climb the company ladder? You have to do more work with more responsibility. With college, the professor isn’t there to hold your hand or lay out a safety net, either.
I was talking with some kids after we took a biology test this last school year. There was dissatisfaction with the teacher and frustration over the difficulty of the test and “brain farts” experienced while taking it. I was surprised by this—I also found the test difficult, but I still had put time and effort into studying, and I feel I at least passed with a decent grade.
Moving up to harder levels, in school, martial arts or anything else doesn’t mean you get to coast. If you want to coast, you aren’t going to get anywhere. The people who got to the top kept pushing and challenging themselves, like I did at Warrior's Cove. And they are still going. Improvement is a lifelong undertaking. Step up or go home and play in your little Xbox world.