In January I started learning how to box. I know, at 47, there’s no good reason to start learning something like boxing. But I enjoy the sport and I thought it would be more enjoyable to learn than running for exercise. I’m also a fan of continually putting yourself in a learning posture – it has so many benefits. But what I didn’t think about was the consequence that doing the hard work in front of my friends and family would have.
To get a clear picture, let me explain. I go to class and the average age of the people in my class is 12. I’m the best in my class over 15. I’m also the only one in my class older than 15.
But the work over the last month has been fantastic. I love learning – as much physically as mentally. But I have also seen my son inspired to learn simply because he sees his dad doing the work. And I’ve had a couple friends who are thinking about it – because they’re watching me do the hard work.
Hard work inspires people.
Muhammad Ali once said, “I hated every minute of training, but I said, ‘Don’t quit. Suffer now and live the rest of your life as a champion.'”
I don’t know if I’ll ever be a champion (especially because I have no plans to compete). But I do know that the hard work of learning something new, even when there’s pain involved, challenges the people around me to tackle the hard things they want to go after.
And that’s a lesson worth remembering. You can inspire people simply by doing the hard work in public.