Not failure, but low aim, is the crime. In great attempts it is glorious to even fail.
How high have you set your aim?
What if you aimed even higher?
I will share a moment in my life where this crystalized. Not because I am full of bravado, but rather, so that wherever you might be in a similar path, you find one kernel of knowledge or technique in what I share that may give you that important impetus to catapult you into your greatest success.
In karate, my sensei, Mr. Gyro, would continuously teach us that if you want to learn how to do something hard, practice something harder. Then, when you are able to do something harder, that which you initially set out to do is fully achievable.
That sounded a bit illogical to me, in that, I have always mastered something and then moved up. But as a willing student, I adopted his perspective and did as we were instructed. For example, take a round kick. This is the one where you raise your leg in the foreground and kick someone in the side of the head. This kick requires tremendous balance. You have to put all of your weight on the leg that stays on the ground, balance your body and then find the accurate energy to lift your foreground leg up and recoil your knee so that you have velocity to bring against the head. I am not incredibly limber. My balance is so so. And practicing this kick was a real challenge for me.
Mr. Gyro’s solution: “I do not want you to deliver one kick, while your leg is raised. Instead, raise your leg and kick the (other person’s head) twice, then lower your leg. Now kick them three times and lower your leg. Now do it four times. I was set back in the difficulty of doing this with any degree of accuracy or precision. I fell repeatedly. It was awkward. My brain kept repeating… I cannot do this. Peer pressure of not wanting to quit in front of my classmates and instructor kept me trying (and falling) and trying again.
Low and behold, I started to be able to do it! It was not pretty. It certainly was not something I would use in combat. (My slide up side kick can knock over a giant bag with a huge base of water keeping it upright) But…. My body was doing it!! And…. To prove Mr. Gyro is the brilliant 9th degree black belt and 7 time World Karate Champion, his technique was the right approach.
If you want to master something, practice something harder.
Not intuitive. Completely counterintuitive.
Outside of karate, the mindset that Bruce Lee projects is equally counterintuitive, but very accurate. Living a life way below one’s potential is demoralizing. It sends a signal to your inner core that you just do not have what it takes.
When I closed the Illusion Factory offices in 2013 and selected a tiny group of colleagues to work virtually from home, I felt exactly this way. My dream was so large and I was so ambitious that when the global crash came in 2008, I was blindsided by it and the entire dream evaporated before my very eyes. Money tightened up, no one was there to help me at that moment and suddenly I went from a large operation to a tiny virtual operation. Feeling like an aircraft carrier had turned into a cork afloat on the giant ocean.
Even as I write it, words fail to describe the mental consequences of that experience. My whole world crumbled. My friend, Gary, had invented augmented reality television and showed me that when he pointed his iPhone at an Eagles CD cover, a video of his employee playing Hotel California popped up out of the CD cover like a hologram and I was transfixed. That was the inception point.
Friends starting to introduce me to other friends, and eventually I met Lynne, who saw what we were doing and took a real long shot in believing in us and what we had to offer and she started to invest in us. Small amounts to get to next milestones.
Without spelling it all out, I was taking a model that my team and I had invented for a metaverse back in 2005 and transposing all of the business models into a real world application. Same business acumen, different approach. The metaverse was hard. Building it to all work in the real world was much harder. Almost 7 years later, the completion of phase 1 of Sizzle is rolling out. It is the extension of the metaverse we were trying to create back then. A couple months ago, Zuckerberg changes Facebook into Meta, and metaverses have suddenly become vogue. Because of something we had done (practicing something harder) we (Gary) was able to put a working prototype of a simple metaverse together in a couple of days.
Collectively, Sizzle plus this new metaverse, create an omniverse. A world where our business models work in the real world and the virtual world in tandem.
If you aim very high and keep practicing difficult things, you are able to make them come to fruition. If you are at your lowest low, find your spark, get your proverbial mojo flowing again and get back up on the horse that threw you. There is no other solution that I have found. Look for people who believe in you and communicate without bravado or pretense what you are trying to do. If it were not for my team at the IF believing in me, some of my close friends like Heywood believing in us, and then our meeting Lynne, who believed in all of us, we would not be here today.
There was zero chance that I was willing to cash out and take a job in another company. Even at my absolute lowest low, that option was offered repeatedly to me and I politely turned all of the offers down. Low aim is a crime (to me). It had to be our collective vision, or not at all.
As it should be in your world as well. Stay the course. Practice something harder. And one day, you will be where you intended to go.