I draw motivation and inspiration in weird ways….but I can’t believe I really just did that. 720 episodes in a month, which is 14,400 mins…240 hours. Yep, I watched the whole anime series “Naruto”. I missed out on a lot of sleep, text, phone calls lol, but you know what, I don’t regret it for one second because watching it made me a better version of myself, and here’s why.

Let’s start with Naruto. He lost his parents at birth and without revealing too much, he grew up alone. No real guardian, no friends, no one in his village wanted to be around him, so as a response Naruto became a delinquent. Playing pranks on people, vandalizing monuments… was just a cry out for help because he wanted the attention, the normal life that everyone else had who grew up with friends and family. Whats funny is, I see this all the time being a basketball trainer and observing the different personalities that I get to know. But at the core, Naruto had a good heart, his dream was to become the leader of the village, aka “ The Hokage”….the strongest ninja in the area.

For me, this is where I got hooked. The Hokage had lots of responsibilities.  To raise the younger generation up the right way, lead them, to teach them, assign responsibilities, and if a real fight broke out, the Hokage would pull up and shut it down. Naruto wanted all of this, but he also did it because then people would HAVE to recognize him in the village, something they never did when was young. No matter the selfish or Selfless intent, Naruto had ONE GOAL, and that was to become “HOKAGE”. Ive learned that once you have a goal in mind, it clears up the path to getting there. 

Everything after that is just setting a plan and then doing what you set out to do. Sounds easy but so many of us don’t do this.

Some set goals and don’t ever make a plan to get there. But that’s just dreaming, right? Imagine if I told you to come over to my house right now, and I gave you my address, but you had no map, no GPS, no car…. nothing. Imagine how much longer it would take for you to arrive, opposed to if I gave you an iPhone and a car. Naruto was well equipped to become the Hokage, but it’s more to it than that. He needed guidance.I believe that behind every great person, is a great teacher.

I’m learning to do a few different things currently. One of them is figuring out how to play the guitar at 30 years old.


The most important thing I’ve picked up is that having a great teacher has sped my progress up exponentially. I tried random youtube tutorials, and googled some stuff, but once I found that teacher that taught me not only how to play, but how to love the process of making mistakes, and also how to feel the music, it made everything sooooo much easier. On Naruto’s road to greatness, he crossed paths with a legend by the name of Jeriyah aka “Pervy Sage”.

I value patience, wisdom, and understanding. It’s a huge sign of a great teacher. The patience to understand that over time, wisdom will come. The hardworking Naruto wanted to become stronger as a ninja INSTANTLY! He wanted to learn every technique as soon as possible and would often try to will himself physically to do so. He was impatient.  Jeriyah moved slow during each lesson, which would often frustrate Naruto. But Jeriyah understood that the things Naruto wanted to learn couldn’t be willed physically and couldn’t be rushed.

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My favorite quote is, “good food cooks slow”. The more patience Jeriyah had with Naruto, even through allllllll Naruto’s obnoxious outburst, the more Naruto began to grow, which allowed Naruto to earn respect for Jeriyah. They grew an emotional attachment, that couldn’t be broken after that. The truth is, greatness takes a LONG time.

See, once you make it over the hump, and you get a taste of success after all those times that you failed, it forces you to see beauty in the struggle. On top of that, it makes it so much easier to handle the next time you get stuck because if you get over the hump once, you can do it again.

Without revealing too much about the series, eventually he gains everyones respect and recognition, but it was done in such an unconventional way. But being that I watched it so fast, every bit of the story was fresh. Often at times I found myself tearing up because of the death of characters I became attached to, or me watching Naruto’s dreams turn into reality. It connected with my life and a lot that was going on with me. Progress is such a beautiful thing, and the older that I get, the more I truly understand it.

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I’m forever thankful that I took the time in my life to watch this show. I dedicate this new IN THE LAB headband to the chunin exam that took place in a part of the show. It was an exam that the young aspiring ninjas would take in order to advance to the next rank by competing  against one another. A drastic event took place where Naruto was not able to pass the test. And even though he ultimately became a warrior later down the line, he never revisited and passed the chunin exam. HOWEVER, that never stopped Naruto from wanting more out of himself. He was always willing to learn more, He was FOREVER……A STUDENT

- Devin Williams



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