Have you ever seen a martial arts demonstration with people breaking wooden boards or cinder blocks? Apparently, a key part of how they do it (besides, of course, correct technique and years of training) is aiming for a spot well beyond the target—in effect, the practitioner is acting as if the board or block simply does not exist. Again, proper technique is important, but the key is the follow through motion.

Board-breaking has become a favorite metaphor for self-confidence issues (as well as a favorite illustration to explain of how a lot of incredible feats are simply a matter of physics … ^^) because it’s extremely appropriate. We often ‘pull our punches’ because we’re afraid of slamming into shame, embarrassment, and regret—we often feel that we’ve reached the limit of embarrassing behavior so we stop. The sad thing is, those fears exist only in our minds, and by avoiding the clash, we avoid success.

Just like breaking boards, learning how to ‘punch’ through our fears and anxiety might take time. But what works on concrete also works with something as intangible as other people’s opinions. And when you finally break through your limits, it’s one of the best feelings in the world… ^^

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