The Cornered Cat

This past weekend, I did something that was hard for me to do. Doesn’t matter too much what it was, at least not for our purposes here – the point is, I did it. Even though it was hard. And even though I knew that on Monday, my body would have to pay for the weekend adrenalin rush.

Doing things that are hard and even unpleasant is the only way we improve as humans.

Want to grow stronger? You’ll have to pick up things that are slightly too heavy for you to lift with ease right now. You have to do that repeatedly while your muscles and lungs complain about doing the work. Afterward, you’ll have to cope with achy muscles as they recover from the work you made them do. Worse, you can’t push your limits just one time and then brag about how well you did, mission accomplished. Nope! In order to get stronger, you have to make a habit of going through this uncomfortable process on a regular basis. You have to push your limits over, and over, and over again.

Want to grow intellectually? You’ll have to force yourself to follow someone else’s logic, to read books that are slightly too advanced for you, to do mathematical puzzles that make your brain hurt. You have to somehow bring new knowledge into your head and force yourself to remember it. Then you need to tie that information together with the other things you already know, so that you can actually use the stuff you just learned. It’s an uncomfortable process, but there is no other way. And to keep the process going, you have to keep pushing your limits.

Want to become better at interpersonal relationships? You’ll have to put yourself in social situations that are slightly outside your comfort zone, and force yourself to interact with others even when you’d rather not. To get better at small talk, you’ll have to engage in small talk and cope with the inevitable little stumbles and bumbles everyone makes. It’s uncomfortable and it takes work and you have to keep doing it over and over again in order to get better at it.

Want to become better at public speaking? The only way to do it is to take on public speaking assignments that scare you, that have an audience too big for you to feel quite comfortable with, in venues that make you a little nervous. Keep pushing those boundaries and keep honing your skills, and one day someone will accuse you of being a “natural” at public speaking. But you will know exactly how much your expertise cost you, and how hard you worked to learn it, and how uncomfortable it felt to push your limits over, and over, and over again.

So … do you want to be better at protecting yourself and the people you love?

Do you want to be a better shooter?

Do you want to be better at identifying danger? And better at avoiding it?

Do you want to have a more solid understanding of the legal realities of self defense?

How far outside your comfort zone are you willing to move, and how long are you willing to keep pushing through your limitations?

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