What Boxing Has Taught Me About Life
"How much can you know about yourself if you've never been in a fight" - Tyler Durden
Over the last few years, I've developed a growing interest in the sport of boxing. The entertainment value, the adrenaline boost and more notably, the free education. The variety of training principles and sporting qualities has provided me with a huge amount of joy during morning sessions and kept me motivated moving forward.
Boxing has provided me with a wealth of experience inside the ring, and also in life. But what are those lessons, and how can you apply the characteristics of a combat sport to your day-to-day endeavours?
To be successful in the ring, you need to be disciplined outside of it. You have to make sacrifices that others won't, in order to get to a level that others can't. The 5AM runs, the strict dieting, the reduction in alcohol intake and socialising while others decide to party their lives away with minimal responsibility and excuses. It's much more comfortable to ignore difficulties and take an easier road in life, but through discipline and hard work, we can achieve results that others could only dream off. When you implement structure and tactical planning, you make those commitments and you are disciplined with your responsibilities in life, the results begin to follow.
When Your Back Is Against The Ropes
In boxing, you will find yourself with your back against the ropes; nowhere to run, nowhere to hide. You have to find a way out of nowhere; thinking, planning and strategically implementing on the go. When punches and hardship are thrown your way, you have 3 options: the first is to take the punches for as long as you can, waiting for a bell to ring signalling the end of play or for the referee to bail you out. The second, is the cowards way out; to hit the floor and run from challenge. But the third, is the most powerful. To find a way out of no way, to use your mental strength, your physical speed and your bravery to battle back. To fight against challenge, to hold your own and to fight for what you believe in; whether thats your values or yourself. We are always going to face challenge in life, but how will you respond to it? The choice is yours.
Get Back Up When You’re Knocked Down
You are going to fall on your face and look like a fool, in the ring and in life. You will make poor decisions leaving you exposed, you will be bruised and battered and you will find yourself in dark mental states where you feel incapable of picking yourself up. If you run with your negative thoughts and stay down, thats where you will end up. However, if you find it within yourself to pick yourself up from the canvas and fight back, learn from your negative experiences and put those towards your future, you will find light at the end of the tunnel. There is a famous Japanese proverb that says: Fall down 7 times, stand up 8. Keep getting up, keep fighting your battles and power through adversity. Difficulty and harship are there to grow you into something stronger.
It’s You Vs You
The person standing on the other side of the ring is just a decoy in the way of where you want to be; the true battles happen within you. The preparation, the self-belief, the tactics and the studying have all been done before battle. What you do outside of the bring, before the big day is what allows you to succeed at the time where it is required. Trust your instincs, strenghten your chances by preparing thoroughly and realise that you can achieve anything once you get on your own team. The people standing in your way are just a distraction.
It's All A Mental Game
Boxing is like a game of chess. It requires patience, tactics, killer instinct and deviousness. Now although the overriding qualities such as speed and power will deliver the knockout punch, your mentality will set you up for true greatness. The willpower to get out of bed at 4.30 in the morning, to miss the social occassions and to battle through hell in the training camp. The ability to focus on your breath, while pivoting on the balls of your feet, slipping lighting shots and setting yourself up for an opportunity to expose your opponents weaknesses. The combination of idiosyncrasies that only you can understand. To face your fears in the shape of a flying fist, to place yourself in uncomfortable scenarios and to believe in yourself when no one else does. Your body can take you so far, but your mind can take you so much further.
What you do in life is up to you, but you will always come across adversity, challenge and discomfort; how you deal with those hardships is completely up to you. Will you stay down and shy away from your fears, or will you pick yourself up and face them. The man who shows up, regardless of his circumstances, is 10 times the man who doesn't even bother to attempt. Be the man who always perseverses. And one day you shall conquer.