A Boxer’s Comfort Zone

I hated every minute of training, but I said, Don't quit. Suffer now and live the rest of your life as a champion.
Muhammad Ali
The internet is full of wonderful thoughts and inspirational meme’s. One that you must have all seen is the idea of letting go and let fate, destiny, the universe, or god sort it out. For those going through tough times or stagnation, it’s a wonderful message of hope… And for anyone in need of hope, it’s a wonderful sentiment. It’s the idea that worrying won’t change a thing and that everyone gets a happy ending at the end. We see this sentiment in every “feel-good” Hollywood movie; as the girl comes running into the hero’s arms when she realizes what a wonderful guy he is or when the hero get the dream job because he randomly bumped into the CEO who was just so impressed by the hero’s “style”, he had to give him a job.

Last time I checked, when you wait for life to solve itself, you are rewarded with even more waiting while nothing happens. If anything, your life will probably get worse as you get deeper into the hole.

The idea behind the thought is that a higher power will look out for you and fix your life. And as beautiful as that sounds, the reality is that it teaches several dangerously wrong lessons. It excuses some people’s slacker attitude, as it’s assume that success will fall on their lap without any real effort other than patience while at the same time minimizes the value of hard work and determination, while making a mockery of the efforts of those trying to get ahead in life. It excuses some people’s abusive behavior, as it’s assume that life will fix them with time if you’re patient enough, while reinforces the idea that the only way to be a good person is to Martyr yourself. It teaches that the secret to success and being a good person is a combination of wishful thinking and a comfortable chair.

So, if that's not the way to do it, what's a better parable to success? Simple, boxers.

Now, don’t think that I am promoting the idea that you have to run off, flailing your arms around, swinging at every opportunity you get in life trying to get that one lucky punch in or that violence is the solution to any problem. That’s not what boxing is about, and chances are you will get beaten up pretty badly and will never understand why.

A Boxing match doesn’t start when the bell rings. It begins the day that a boxer understand that strength has nothing to do with how hard he hits. This understanding begins as soon as the fighter finds the strength that comes from the desire to someday step in the ring combined with the determination to make it happen. You have to understand that desire, determination, and training are the tools used to build the door you want opportunity to knock on. Destiny is more about hard work than it’s about luck.

When you start bringing into your corner the right people, you come to realize just how important those around you are to your success. You also come to realize just how much the wrong people have hurt your development. Funny thing about the wrong people, you can’t blame them for holding you back because it was your choice to stay with them and it's your choice to walk away from them.

In the ring, knocking someone out isn’t the only way to win, so running in hoping for that one lucky shot is actually setting yourself up to lose. That’s why to those unfamiliar with boxing, the first few rounds might look like the fighters are slacking or even dancing around. In reality it’s about measuring up and studying your opponent. When a fight might take 12 rounds, it’s best to know and understand what you’re up against. You learn pretty fast the importance of those breaks between rounds. It’s then than you can collect your thoughts and receiving advice. It’s only between rounds that you can understand what you’ve done, what works, and what you need to change.

You see, boxing isn’t about who hits the hardest, but who’s about to deal with the punishment dished out their way. Boxing has less to do with hitting than it does with keeping your guard up, bob and weaving out of the way of a punch, and position yourself in the right place at the right time. It’s about how you handle what life dishes out. Fighting smart is about matching that opportunity with timing. He also knows that you have to create opportunities and that timing is fleeting.

So instead of wishful thinking, of assuming you will be handed a prize just for sitting on your ass, realize you are an active participant of your future. Train and fight for the life you want, because that’s the only way you will get it. Get out of your comfort zone. The real comfort zone in life is the comfort of knowing you don’t have to put up with the way your life is.

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