Leave your ego at the door

My wife took me to kick-boxing class yesterday and if I was to be honest with you, I’d have to admit that I pretty much got my ass handed to me.  Kickboxing is HARD. This isn’t athletic club kick-boxing.  This is Muay Thai kick-boxing at the local Thai dojo.  My wife’s been going for months and is really good (and before you ask – yes, she can clearly kick my ass any time she feels like it).  She’s been asking me to go for a while but I’ve resisted. Not because I didn’t think it would be fun (and as it turned out it was even more fun than I thought it would be), but because I didn’t know how to do it and I was seriously afraid of embarrassing myself (although as you can imagine, none of the excuses I used to avoid prior participation included this openness of reasoning).  Finally, having run out of good reasons not to go along, I acquiesced.  And it was great.  I had fun. I sweat (a LOT). I beat the crap out of my punching bag. I learned the proper way to kick and punch.  And occasionally I put it all together and actually looked like I knew what I was doing.

This post isn’t really about kick-boxing, however.  It’s about trying.  It’s about putting yourself in situations that are uncomfortable or foreign and giving it your best shot.  I made a ton of mistakes in class yesterday.  And, as it turns out, didn’t feel stupid at all.  To the contrary, I felt great for having made the attempt. At the end of class we warmed down with a few minutes of meditation and breathing exercises.  During this quiet time the instructor read a passage that started with the line "here we leave our egos at the door" and went on to talk about the virtues of challenging ourselves to our own level of ability and experience. 

I think it’s often true in business that we are reluctant to try new things. To leave our comfort zones and branch out to new area. And – perhaps most importantly – ask for help. In business (and in life), its extremely hard to leave truly leave your ego at the door. But think about how much more we’d get done if we did…

  • Dawn

    So your wife took you to kick-your-ass-boxing, huh?! Ha!! Good for her. And good for you for going!

    But you haven't told us. Are you going BACK? πŸ™‚

    • sethlevine

      Absolutely!!!

  • Seth… you should reblog this post on Aidpage.com. But you'll have to truly leave your ego at the door… πŸ™‚

  • sethlevine

    thanks for the repost, emil!

  • Luke G

    I boxed for years (at the end of hs and through college), and kickboxed for some time, too. The risk, the challenge, and the concentration they take make them tremendously rewarding sports.

    I found brazilian jiu jitsu later, but it's phenomenal. It's a system designed to neutralize the size and strength of a larger opponent, so it's all about leverage, which comes from technique (and the creativity that practiced technique allows). It's known as “physical chess” for a reason – it's tremendously complicated, and move/counter quickly builds into fluid strategic play.

    “Real” bjj takes ten long, consistent years to learn. When's the last time you spent ten years trying to approach mastery of a craft? Victory through thinking rather than strength? It's got to the ultimate (and least well known) geek sport.

    • sethlevine

      Great comment Luke. I can clearly see the attraction to these sports – they are both mental and physical which for me is really the best kind of exercise.

  • Where are you taking classes? I've been thinking of doing this but am stalled at the where to start question.

  • Mr. Levine – I couldn't agree more. If you get a chance, check out the post I wrote on June 24th about complacency.

  • Aziz Grieser

    Kickboxing is good exercise, but be careful. It's easy to hurt someone, and yourself.

  • “respect your opponent, for he teaches you limits”: The type of kick boxing you are attempting here is very very difficult, very intense. Without getting all hippy on you, you might try some traditional wu-shu (kung fu), and tai-chi. They could also teach you about balance, movement, keep you fit, but are sustainable (which I humbly suggest thai boxing may not be after a certain point). I could be wrong. A family friend is a tai-chi teacher, and she speaks about your standing and stance, as a “platform”, a “base” for all other movements. mmm, rings some bells….

  • Jingjing

    The first time in your blog,and really like your story and the implication inside. We should have the encouragement to try new things.

  • gloria

    I am not sure how to kick box.But pretty sure of the moral behind the article.It is really nice to try out new things and leave our ego.We keep growing and there is no limits to growth which can boost both mental and spiritual. Well keep trying till you become the best…
    VM