In the past few weeks, I've had a few conversations with people about how the training they'd done with me had translated into other parts of their lives.
When I was younger, I went through a phase where I thought that all of the "life lessons" stuff that gets attached to the martial arts was bullshit. To my mind, martial arts were for fighting, and anyone who was trying to get much more out of it than that was deluding themselves.
More recently, I've swung the other way.
Unless you're in a profession that requires you to use your martial arts skill regularly (i.e. you're a competitive fighter, LEO, Military, or similar high contact job), developing nothing but fighting skill is a dead-end. Fighting skill simply shouldn't take that long to develop.
Even then--a competitive career only lasts a fraction of a life-time. An assault can be over in seconds. If the goal simply to survive a violent event or occupation, then you're pretty much just trying to make it to retirement. Not a bad goal, mind you, but once you make it, the skill has no purpose anymore.
[Caveat: I'm making an assumption that you are actually learning how to fight in a reasonably efficient manner. If someone tells you that you need to spend twenty years of training in order to be able to defend yourself, they either a)suck as a coach, b)have a sucky system, or c)have a completely skewed vision of what violence actually looks like.]
The real value in martial arts training HAS to extend outside of the practice itself. It must positively impact your life outside the gym, mat, ring, or cage. It has to provide benefit at times when you're not gloved up.
If not, what the hell is the point, really?
Some of those conversations were quite humbling. It's one thing to say you want to impact someone's life. Quite another to hear you've done it.