Maybe I’m finding metaphors where none exist, but pole-vaulting is a useful metaphor for life. (Also I don’t know anything about pole-vaulting so my metrics are way off)

To get over the bar, you not only need to jump really high, you need to twist and contort your body. It doesn’t look pretty. It’s probably painful. But that’s the metaphor: it doesn’t look pretty and it hurts to jump over a bar elevated 12 feet above the ground.

Raising the bar higher and higher means defining new ways to fail. New ways to be hurt at the end of a 12-foot fall. But the pain of improvement is a feature, not a bug.

The ugliness of improvement comes from the discomfort. We get so nervous we feel like throwing up because our bodies and minds haven’t adjusted to these new stressors, these new environments. To our unadapted brains, launch day is an environment as dangerous as the African jungle. And it actually is dangerous. We make things with our names on it. There’s every possibility that no one cares. Let’s get real. That hurts. That’s embarrassing. No one likes that. Again: a feature, not a bug.

So if pain and embarrassment are features, what should we do about it?

Come on. Do I really need to tell you?

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