Do you enjoy boxing?
Probably not: the sweet science has been losing popularity for years but for every kid who ever took a turn in the ring growing up its almost a rite of passage. Yes, I know its not for everyone, but if you’ve ever seen the pure artistry of Muhammad Ali or the relentlessness of Joe Frazier you might appreciate the pugilistic pull.
Like or dislike there is a lesson to be drawn for today’s career warrior from the confines of the ropes: its not how many times you get knocked down, its how many times you get up.
Now variations on this theme are so popular and prevalent I am sure they are in the public domain so I don’t think there’s any copyright infringement afoot. Yet, a saying that has been around as long as the American Crocodile must have some meaning for real life.
Part of what captivates the boxing fan is the number of rounds in a fight. Sometimes 10, 12 or the behemoth 15-round championship the allure of a title fight has as much to do with resilience as it does with strategy, strength and stamina. A concentrated burst of three-minute challenge interspersed with a brief respite to refocus before getting up to take on the challenger again.
In business there will be good rounds and bad rounds. Times you correctly assess a potential work environment and/or boss (do not worry, this skill increases over time) before you commit, moments when markets and societal need collude to make your role redundant and those times when you realize you are not the smartest person in the room anymore. Any one of these moments – interspersed with hundreds of other types – is enough to put the best athlete down on a knee.
But will you hit the canvas? And if so, will you rise before the end of the dreaded 10-count? That’s up to you.
Call it resilience, stamina, stupidity I don’t know, but often the ones who succeed in commerce are the ones who keep getting up off the mat and coming back for more. Now, Einstein was right, doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results truly is insanity, so simply springing up off the floor and thinking that’s enough is insufficient. You will be lying horizontally again soon.
Life knock you down? How did that happen? What did you not consider? What could you have done differently. Yes, the true champions in life – and work is part of life – are those who can take in information both before and after a fall and approach the world a little differently.
Let’s make it simple: no one sees the future with clarity. At best life is a series of guesses, wild swings and once in a while a great connection. Much like boxing. And we all get knocked down once or more. But most of us get up, shake it off and rethink what we’re doing. Just get up one more time than you’re knocked down and you can call your life a success.
So remember fans, its really not how you start, its how you finish.
Did I hear the bell ring?