Ever had a crack in your windshield?
They tend to grow, from a little tiny scratch, barely worth noticing, to a monstrously large spiderweb in a fairly short amount of time, and what's more, as the crack gets bigger, its rate of growth accelerates. The vibration of the car, of your driving, makes the glass crack all the more quickly. The speed from a scratch to an inch takes time - the speed from an inch to a foot is startlingly fast, and before you know it, you're at the shop getting a new windshield.
When it comes to limitations, whether internal or external, breaking through them very often isn't a sledgehammer's swing to victory. More often, it's just a small crack in the glass - but that first breaking point is the key to that barrier eventually shattering into dust.
For example, there's a student at the Boston Martial Arts Center who's relatively new. For privacy reasons, we'll just call her Katie. Started not too long ago. She came in with no confidence, no belief in herself, and not even a clear sense of why she was there. Katie started taking classes, started learning just a few of the basics, and one day during a class I was teaching, she delivered a solid lead jab to her partner's heavily-padded target. Her partner, a guy who probably outweighs her by a hundred pounds or so, was knocked back and down.
That was the crack in the glass for Katie. Prior to that day, the idea of knocking down someone with a lead jab was ludicrous for her. But in that moment, the glass cracked, and suddenly what was impossible was not only possible, but real. That changed her instantaneously and irrevocably, and now, just a few weeks later, Katie's a different person. Her mind shattered a limitation and is now wondering what other barriers and limitations she has that are equally vulnerable, equally breakable.
The momentum of the glass cracking is picking up.
Now, you don't have to be a martial artist to experience this. You do have to be willing to step outside your comfort zone, try something out, be completely okay with failing, and be tenacious in trying until you do reach at least one success, until you know that impossible is possible and can be made manifest, made real. Maybe it's cooking a new dish that's legendary for its difficulty. Maybe it's publicly showing that painting you're privately proud of but anxious about others seeing. Maybe it's standing in front of an audience and speaking for half an hour.
Whatever your limitations are, know that once you make even the tiniest crack in them, as long as you keep driving, momentum will be on your side, and your barriers can be shattered.
Keep on driving!
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