I love a great boxing match. There is such a purity in two opponents facing off in the ring. For those of you who don’t know me that well yet, let me say I am not, nor have I ever been a prize fighter. My only time in the ring was in middle school and the metal braces I had on my teeth then made the experience brief and unpleasant. However, I don’t think that means I can’t learn something from watching “the sweet science” and making some applications to my life. Here are the 7 things I learned.
1) You’re going to need a strategy
Like achieving any of the goals you or I would put on our list, a boxer must create a plan before beginning. Recognize your strengths and how your unique abilities and experiences can contribute to making you victorious. At the same time, look for your weak spots and plan how you will overcome them. This is not to say things will go according to the plan, they rarely do, but you need the confidence of thinking it through.
2) You gotta get in the ring
You can prepare all you want but you can’t win until you put yourself in the ring. This is one of the toughest for me because there’s no place to hide once you step in and you’re going to find the flaws in your plan and your abilities. But remember that few of us are ever able to get what we want without overcoming some kind of opponent.
3) Expect to be surprised
There’s no way to know what’s going to happen until you’re in the ring. You may be amazed at how rapidly you can learn once the heat is on. Even getting knocked down can teach you a lot about your plan and your self. Keep your head up and look for your opportunities. Sometimes your chance comes when you aren’t expecting it.
4) Prepare yourself to get back up
Even the champs can get knocked down. But they don’t stay down. A match may go 10 or 12 rounds and each round will present different opportunities. Sometimes you may knock your opponent out but remember, the winner is usually decided by how well you score over the whole match. Can you shake off that last round and persevere?
5) Even winners take two minutes between rounds
If you plan to win and prepare yourself to give your best, you still have to “go the distance”. Stepping into the ring in a prize fight is entering a place where all your skills, preparation and training are tested. It is a place where you learn things you could never learn in practice. Maybe your best is enough, maybe its not and you will learn how to be better. One thing for sure is your will need your “two minutes” to rest and rebuild your drive to win.
6) You need a good “corner man”
Maybe the best way to reduce your chances for winning is to try to take your shot all by yourself. The right coach or corner “person” can help you achieve by seeing the things you can’t. Your corner guy understands you’re getting hurt out there, its expected. But you both have the same goal and know what the victory means.
7) Know when to throw in the towel
I’ve learned more from my failures than I ever have from my victories. There will be times when all you get are the lessons learned. Don’t undervalue what a good attempt coupled to a less desired outcome can teach. Champions understand there will be twelve rounds and they know the future holds more things worth fighting for.
Maybe the ring is easier than what you want to do. At least a boxing opponent is clearly visible right there in front of you. Outside the ring, sometimes the fight is to keep on keeping on when you’ve lost sight of your dream. When that happens, take your two minute break, review your strategy and what you’ve learned, remember why you’re doing this, and then get back in there and win the prize.