One of the things I learned from taking boxing classes for a year and a half is that you eventually hit a plateau unless you are willing to step in the ring and get punches thrown at your face.
I experienced a huge improvement from the day I started boxing to the day I switched to yoga (I got to enjoy beginner humiliation all over again). By the end, I no longer looked like an awkward guy who started training to fend off bullies who stole his lunch money. There was finally a naturally flow to my punches and combinations.
But I hit a plateau. I was never going to get any better than a was. Maybe marginally if I stopped eating cupcakes and started drinking Muscle Milk, but gains would be barely noticeable.
I was never going to get better because I didn’t care enough to get hit. Becoming exceptionally good at boxing means getting hit a lot. It’s the only way to get significantly better.
The same is true with anything else at a higher level. If you publish a book, people will might love it or absolutely hate it. Anyone who gives speeches, has a few that don’t go well. Every comedian has jokes that bomb and sets that are awful. A wide receiver that’s afraid to get tackled, will be too distracted to focus on actually catching the ball.
Humans have a fear of ends. An “end” means there will be a beginning and if we’re unsure of what that’s going to be, it terrifies a lot of people. Given the choice, we’d much rather perpetually keep tweaking a draft instead of hitting publish. That way you can get the false sense of productivity and meaning without ever having to put your work in front of an audience. The problem with this is that life has an end which you can’t escape.
If the goal is to create something bigger than yourself that’s enjoyed by many, you have to cross that mental threshold.
You have to be willing to get hit. To steal a quote that Mark Cuban often uses, “No balls, No babies.”
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