Day #315 | Fire

Nothing makes you grow faster than throwing yourself in the fire. It’s actually a hack.

As Nassim Taleb says:
“When you are on fire, you run faster than in any competition.

When you are not anymore, you become dumb again.

You may lose your sharpness, you will never lose what you learned.”

Throwing yourself in the fire is the only way to grow exponentially.

Back in uni, I was training kick boxing. I was fairly good for an amateur. But I had never fought in the ring. Only trained. And sparred. But even hard training and sparring are nothing like fighting. Not even close.

You are essentially meeting in the middle of a small box with another ape who is trying to kill you. Things inside you wake up that you didn’t even know existed.

For reference:
Training is like reading business books.
Sparring is like joining a Hackathon.
Fighting is like starting a company.

I remember the day my coach came in and asked me if I wanted to fight. I was training for years at that point - so I felt ready and said yes.

When you fight amateur, you have no idea who you are going to fight. I didn’t care. I wasn’t scared at all.

I ended up fighting a short stocky dude with a destroyed nose, that loved to close the distance and throw bombs. I was very slim back in uni because I didn’t eat well, so I was tall for my weight category.

My game plan was to keep him away with push kicks and round kicks to the body when he tries to close the distance. When he get’s into boxing range, grab and hold him so the referee separates us.

If it was Muay Thai, which favors the tall slim body type (look at all the Thai fighters) - I would be able to throw knees and elbows in the clinch. My favorite techniques.

But it was kickboxing, and that range ended up being super frustrating to me.

I lost that fight on points. It was my most entertaining fight. Great matchup. It was a war.

I completely executed my game plan in round one, so I got that round. His ribs were all dark red and he was afraid to close the distance.

In the second round, he found his range and landed some good shots while in boxing range. He got that round.

The third round was super close, me slamming his body and legs with kicks and him landing big shots in the clinch again. The refs gave him the round.

I learnt more in those 9 minutes than the previous two years of kickboxing.

First of all I learned how it’s not scary to fight. As soon as the ref says “go”, everything happens on autopilot. You are simply a viewer from inside your body.

Also, shots to the head don’t hurt. Only to the body of legs. You are full of adrenaline, so the shots register but don’t hurt. You brain just goes “Ok, that was not good”.

So when you see those people on TV fighting 3 or 5 round wars, remember that they are not thinking a damn thing and that they don’t feel a damn thing either. Feel sorry for them for the next weeks after the fight, when they are sore and bruised.

Last but not least, I learnt how simple things can be. Just execute your game plan. The fundamentals are enough. A jab, a cross, a hook and a round kick. That’s day one stuff. But they are enough to take you pretty far. Even to a world championship.

The difficulty is recognizing when to fire them and how.

The same applies to business I believe. I am seeing now that things are more simple than I thought. A good product and a good distribution channel is all you need to go quite far.

The difficulty again lies in spotting the opportunity and firing.

Similarly, I launched Cyberleads without a product. That was the equivalent of throwing myself in the fire. A lot of stress, but you end up making huge leaps in a small amount of time.

But you only learn these things when you throw yourself in the fire. Not in books. Or in blog posts like this one.

@alexwestco