“It is one thing to study war and another to live the warrior’s life.” —Telemon of Arcadia
As a boxer, I’ve hit a peak.
For the last year and a half I’ve been taking boxing classes twice a week. I started out as a flailing blob and today my punches are sharp, quick, and I no longer receive much instruction in class.
From here I can only get marginally better. I could lose a little weight, gain a little muscle, but that wouldn’t make a big difference from where I’m at now. I’ve hit a peak.
There is only one way for me to get significantly better – step inside the ring.
There is a massive difference between student and practitioner. You can only go so far as just a student. You can learn a lot but it just doesn’t compare to actual experience.
This is the problem I have with college. I learned more in the first 3 months after graduation at an internship than 4 years at a private college.
Studying is necessary, but nowhere near sufficient to do anything great in the real world. Experience is often the best form of education.
About a year ago I paid a screenplay service to review the first draft of a screenplay that I wrote. I went in thinking I would get mostly glowing feedback with some grammatical corrections. While they did have some nice things to say about my writing, it turned out the script lacked structure, character development, and a few other essential things. The critique wasn’t easy to hear, but I’m much better for it and that next rewrite is going to be a hell of a lot better.
To get really good at anything you need to step in the ring.
Want to become a stand-up comedian? Get experience at any open-mic you can.
Want to become a web developer? Write code and push it live.
Want to become a writer? Write something and publish it online.
To become your best self your work needs to meet some type of friction. You need the fear of criticism and inadequacy to push you to make your best work.
It’s not easy. Your work gets beat up in the real world. You face rejection and often failure. But it’s the only path towards great work.
“. . . it’s better to be in the arena, getting stomped by the bull, than to be up in the stands or out in the parking lot.” – Steven Pressfield.
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