The Struggle Alone Pleases Us, Not the Victory

Photo by The New York Public Library on Unsplash

Back when I was in high-school, during one of my kickboxing practices, I had to act as a sparring partner for a few weeks to one of the best fighters in the country. 

It was the most humiliating and excruciating experience in my life. There’s no other way to put it. There was nothing I could do to even touch the guy, let alone beat him.

Yet, even though I consistently got beat, my skills improved considerably. When I look back at the four years I spent as a fighter, I often remember that one time I got a lucky jab at him or when he broke my nose. 

Quentin Tarantino once compared our work towards progress as running a race. 

If we run against people who are slower than us, yes, we win, but if we race against people who are much faster, we’ll come last every single time, but our time will be much better.

We live in a society that loves winning. 

Winning is the only thing. The desire to be first. To be the best there is. 

There are some victories that are impossible. Sometimes, a good defeat is its own reward. Sometimes, the best we can do is fight an impossible battle and manage not to lose it.

Having to fight against someone with far superior skills would provide me with the kind of mental clarity and focus that made me be so present in the moment that everything was moving in slow-motion. 

If I wasn’t careful, I’d find myself on the floor, trying to figure out what day of the week it was.

I couldn’t win, but I still struggled. And I enjoyed it so, so much.

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Your Feet on The Ground, Your Eyes on The Stars: Achieving The Impossible

Photo by Jeroen den Otter on Unsplash

“Dream the impossible dream and the world will not grind you under, it will lift you up. This is the trick. This is what all these teachers and philosophers who really counted, who really touched the alchemical gold, this is what they understood.” — Terrence McKenna

You are probably familiar with the saying, “Jack of all trades, master of none.”

We use it to justify the idea that one must focus on one thing, reach mastery, as this is the only way towards success and fulfillment.

As most simple truths in life, we use it because we don’t want to use precious mental energy in trying to understand the nuanced truths of success and mastery.

The nuanced point is that even the notorious specialists, such as Salvador Dali or Pablo Picasso, were masters of a multitude of skills and crafts, not the least of which is their charisma and their ability to market themselves.

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