Getting Better; can hurt.

Nicholas Dancer
Oct 29, 2019 · 3 min read
Image Courtesy of me screenshoting the Rouge.com website;) This is the one I use.

Wrestling, Boxing, and most forms of martial arts incorporate jump rope as a warm-up routine. It pumps up your body, lets your muscles loosen up, and gets your heart beating. My sophomore year of high school, I learned how to jump rope. Not just the ‘kids-playing-during-recess’ type of jump rope, but like the Rocky movie montage jump.

When you first learn how to jump, it feels clumsy. You are just getting used to the feeling of the rope in your hands, and your first priority is to work on rhythm and consistency. At this point, you are probably doing a double jump. A double jump is what most beginners start with, and it consists of two small jumps for every one swing with the rope. When you fail, it tends to be a simple rhythm mistake. You didn’t time your jump correctly, and you end up kicking the rope with your feet. You may be frustrated, but you also know that you are simply learning and that it will take time to improve.

After practicing for some time, you start to feel yourself improving. As you get better, your speed increases. You learn new techniques and attempt jumps that require quicker reactions and more mental alertness. You start crossing your arms as you jump, or maybe you practice double-unders (one jump — two passes with the jump rope). As your swing gets faster, the rope can catch some bare skin on an arm, shoulder, or shin. That same rope that is made to slide through the air with such little resistance feels like a whip when it smacks you.

Since first learning how to jump rope during my sophomore year of high school, I have continued to jump as part of my workouts. Through years of intentional practice, I have greatly improved my skills.

I’m now much better at jump rope than I was 15 years ago. However, when I fail now, it hurts more.

As you get better — the pain of failure can be more significant than it was before.

The higher you climb on the ladder of success, the higher the expectations. When you reach the pinnacle of any path, you are going to have a larger audience and there is going to be more ‘on the table.’ When the stakes are higher, it also means that there is more to lose. So, when you come up short, it can hurt.

This potential ‘hurt’ or pain, either physical or emotional, can sometimes serve as a roadblock to our success. Sometimes we let the fear of ‘hurt’ or failure keep us from bettering ourselves and our skills. However, we know that on the other side of that fear is where we find our sense of completion and contentment.

It’s hard to be content if we are always thinking, “What if?”

I can’t decide to not get better at jump rope just because it smacks my skin.

We can’t be afraid to go the extra mile because we think, “What if I fail? Would I be letting down others? Myself? What if I find I’m not as good as I think I am?”

We often let these fears stop us. They keep us held back, all because we are afraid of the possibility of getting hurt or failing. We are afraid to get smacked, look silly, have people talk about us, or fall victim to our insecurities.

What if instead, we learned to accept the hurt? What if we were okay with knowing that in order to jump rope fast, we have to get smacked with the rope every once in a while? Because becoming our best selves is NOT pain-free. If we could reframe our thinking and learn to be okay with our mistakes, then we could recognize them as part of life and as part of our growth process as individuals. When we learn to think in this way, and when we become comfortable with the hurt, we can find our best selves.

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