We learn when we fail, therefore it is good to fail. Don’t mistake this comment for permission to avoid hard work, failing is hard work when done correctly.

Your Comfort Zone

If you want to live a comfortable life with no real challenges on your horizon then avoid growth. It is far easier to take the easy road, stay in your comfort zone. Make it easy to avoid making mistakes that might show you new ways to complete a task or at the very minimum force you to rethink what you are doing. The ugly truth is sometimes hard to accept, no one likes to fail. The word failure has been associated with so much negativity it is hard to find anything positive. I cannot say I have at times avoided failure as if it were the plague. The problem is by avoiding failure I was only promoting my own stagnation. I was not growing.

Impressing Your Peers

At a certain point you have to give way to being comfortable. You have to put the notion of being comfortable away, some place you will forget about it and then focus on the fall. You can make failure in a controlled setting a very good thing. I really didn’t appreciate this notation until well into my middle ages. It was something I pushed back from for the simple reason I didn’t want to look bad in front of my peers, my teammates those who’s opinion I sought. I did okay, in fact I did pretty damn good. In my early years I really didn’t care about what other people thought. I was too busy kicking ass to care. At some point that changed and everything slowed down. I might have been on a plateau for a long time, but the good news was it was a high plateau. I had a great view.

Skating Through Life

One day I found myself working with some very talented people. I realized I was just as good, but they were putting in hard work and I was pretty much gliding. I started to wonder what might happen if I opened up a bit. I’ll admit I was comfortable and enjoyed the status quo. I realized eventually how sad it was to be satisfied with this state. After that, I started to rethink my entire thought process. It lead me back to my early days where I didn’t care as much I wanted to see where my failure points lie. There is much to be said about know what you can do, but you might consider it equally valuable in knowing what you cannot do…at this moment.

Full Speed Ahead

I do so much work at slow speed that hitting the gas felt weird. I had to bust down some of my own barriers I had in place and instead be okay if I put up a poor performance as long as I went all out. As long as I was safe. As long as I learned something. Most of the professional development I do these days are focused on speed. I should say about doing something faster than I did before. That is were metrics become so important so I can document the performance in an attempt to improve the next time I encounter a drill. I love this thought process. I love how it pushes me to try to do better. It doesn’t matter by how much, just get better no matter how small. Taking this mindset and applying it to a big picture is where you see the true value. Where consistency really pays off, to consistently make an infantile improvement.

Don’t look away when failure stares at you. Instead, thank failure for show you the way.

2 thoughts on “Pushing Your Limits

  1. Oscar Lee James III says:

    Thanks, Jeff. I first learned this lesson from Drill Sergeant Jett, at Ft Leonard Wood, in 1973. Forty years later, when I bought my first handgun, I stayed comfortable for too long. Training with you brought me back into focus. I always taught my soldiers that we must be comfortable with failing in training, as long as we are safe, and learn from the experience. I teach my sons the same thing. I had gotten too comfortable with myself and you shook me out of that. At every practice session, in each competition match, in every training class, I push myself in some aspect that takes me out of my comfort zone; speed, accuracy, marksmanship, technique. Learning something new or doing something better or faster.

    Six months after taking your Pistol 2 class, I was training with John Correia. In two particular aspects of this class, six months of pushing myself paid off. First was timed drawing to an accurate shot. 1.34 seconds from a Safariland ALS without warm up. Then , with no other warm up, we shot a 1/4 scale steel IPSC target, starting at 10 yards and stepping back 5 yards after each shot. I hit the steel with the first shot at 10, 15, 20, and 25 yards. At 30, well outside my comfort zone, I missed with the first shot and hit with the second. Consistently insisting on better works.

    Thanks again.

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