A Magnificent Obsession
"Come to the edge," he said.
And so they came.
And he pushed them.
And they flew.”
Execution, if done well, almost always guarantees results. That is why I am deliberate when it comes to making decisions.
But when it comes to adventure seeking, I throw my own rationale out of the window and opt for spontaneity. Results matter less, enjoyment matters more.
Ever since I can remember, I was always looking for a Magnificent Obsession. I don’t think your magnificent obsession has to be on the scale of Michelangelo’s painting of the Sistine Chapel. It can have a short shelf life. Nor does it need to be lofty. That is why so few follow their curiosity; they think their magnificent obsession needs to be on a grand scale in order to be worthy of effort.
A magnificent obsession does not need to be defined by anyone. Your soul will immediately recognize it. For a guidepost, just look to the intersection between purpose and joy, and for times when you willingly lose yourself in it.
I was willing to lose myself to, of all things, boxing.
I know. It sounds so…street.
Remember, your magnificent obsession does not necessitate loftiness in order to be worthy of pursuit. I am not out to be Mayweather and Ali. And really, boxing is a lot less risky than trying to drink from a shot glass while someone lays a scorpion on top of your hand (James Bond in Skyfall).
I’m sure every day people like myself have different reasons for taking up boxing. Upping their fitness. Dealing with stress. Finding a healthy outlet for their anger. And okay, maybe it makes them feel a little badass.
All I can say for myself is, I am not the type you would see partaking in rui katsu, the latest Japanese craze for public crying as a way to relieve stress. There’s even a service that rents out hot men to wipe away your tears!
I'll stick to boxing. It makes me feel powerful. And it’s not because I relish hurting someone. It is because I can take the hurt.
I like how it forces you to rely on your instincts, your coordination, your reflexes more than reasoning and logic. Boxing is a shelter for the over thinker.
I like the element of risk. I like facing my fears, and there are many. Fear of judgment. Fear of the unknown. Fear of real injuries. All the while knowing that the fear may never go away. And that’s fine by me.
After all, how can you claim badassery in the absence of fear? All true adventures have an element of danger. Where there’s danger, there is bound to be fear. Fear keeps things in perspective. I respect it.
As with all my sports stories, there are lessons to be had.
Here are four things boxing is teaching me about winning in life.
Be Prepared to Get Hurt.
When embarking in a risky venture such as falling in love, asking for a promotion, pursuing entrepreneurship, true adventurers don’t ask the question, “Am I going to get hurt?” or “Am I going to fail?” They know it’s a given. Instead, the question is, “How do I make this less of a possibility?” Preparation.
Be Prepared to Bleed.
When you do anything worthwhile, you will have enemies, and they will go for the jugular. Why? Because your greatness brings out their insecurities, takes away all their excuses, elicits envy and so on and so forth; none of which should concern you unless you want to get caught up in their circus. Focus on the game.
Stand Your Ground.
The only thing to do, when you do fall down, is to get back up. Whatever you do, don’t stay down. Understand this simple formula: horizontal = lose. Vertical = win.
When you get in a good fight with a good opponent, you’re going to go through a number of rounds. A magnificent obsession is nowhere near easy. When you lose perspective, distance yourself. Go away for a while. Then come back stronger.
By understanding these four things I've taught you, you will fear less by doing the things that you fear most.