21st Century Alchemy: Be prepared for a beatdown

It doesn’t matter what you’re facing, how hard it’s been, or how long you’ve been at it. There will and should always be times when you reach that breaking point when you whimper and perhaps even cry out “I can’t take it anymore!”

Though you may continue to go through the motions on the outside, on the inside you’ve quit. That’s the feeling of being punched. That’s what a knockdown feels like.

Weather the storm
Floyd Mayweather Jr is considered the greatest boxer of his era. He was undefeated as a professional and a five-division world champion, winning 12 world titles. But he didn’t throw a lot of punches. He had the third lowest average of punches/round and eighth lowest average of power punches/round.

When he did, it mattered that they hit their mark. He was #1 for the percent of total punches connecting and #3 for power punches connecting. And, of course, he was hard to hit, finishing #2 for opponent punches connecting and #1 for power punches.

The obvious lesson is don’t throw punches unless they count and don’t let your opponents touch you.

Persistence is the key
But there’s another subtle lesson behind these numbers. Everything we’re taught about how to be successful is about what you NEED TO DO. But a lot of the time, what you NEED TO DO is to take a punch and not throw one.

Everyone faces defeat at some time, and it is a stepping-stone or stumbling block, depending on the mental attitude with which it is faced.

There have been times when I’ve been arrogant enough to believe that I could waltz into success on my talent. Sometimes it works, but most of the times it doesn’t. Genius won’t either – unrewarded genius is almost a proverb. Or education – the world is full of over-qualified failures.

Persistence and determination alone are omnipotent. As President Calvin Coolidge said: “Nothing can take the place of persistence.”

The bigger the dream …
I don’t know what your dreams are. Nor do I know the obstacles that are standing in the way of achieving them.

But what I do know is that the obstacles are always proportionally bigger and more numerous than the size and scope of the dream. So if you dream big, then expect bigger and more frequent obstacles.

So, learn to take a punch, be ready for knockdowns, and keep getting up – again, and again, and again.