When you put in the work towards a long term goal, you pick up life lessons that apply to areas of your life that are unrelated to your pursuit. You are forced to cultivate discipline and persistence in order to realize your goals. These qualities will change your world view for the better.
A good example of this phenomenon is what you learn in a boxing gym.
Boxing trains you to be a winner, inside and outside of the ring
When you make a commitment to learn boxing, you adjust your mindset. You make a decision to become consistent and to show up, even when you don’t feel like it. You start to build up the mental strength you will need to push through the hard days: The ones when you just can’t seem to get it right no matter how much you practice.
Boxing teaches many lessons, both on the boxing gym floor and in the ring. This makes perfect sense seeing as the boxing ring is an apt metaphor for life. Here are some lessons you learn in a boxing gym that you can apply to your day-to-day life.
1) Showing up is half the battle
Consistency is the difference between honing a skill to perfection and ‘dabbling’ in said skill. This applies to boxing as well. If you schedule four lessons or practice sessions a week, show up for every one of those sessions. It is the only way to build up the momentum you need to learn a combination of moves, master the combination, and finally use it on an opponent.
When you skip sessions, you lose momentum, which reverses previous gains. A person who has erratic training patterns finds themselves forced to go over ground that they have already covered. This is a needless waste of time that can cause a person to lose their motivation as they realize the slow pace of their progress.
The art of sticking to a regimen also carries over to life outside the boxing gym. A successful business requires you to put in the work, consistently. It is the hard, sometimes unglamorous slog that creates the type of success that so many people admire. To paraphrase Muhammad Ali: “A title belt is not really won under a spotlight. It is won over the course of many hours on jogging tracks and boxing gyms.” In many ways, accolades are only an acknowledgment of the work it takes to excel.
2) Talent is great, but it’s hard work that leads to success
Talent is latent. Untapped potential does no good. Innate gifts are like minerals in the earth and you need to mine and process them before they can affect significant change in your life. In boxing, this means hours of practice over the course of many months and years.
It follows that a naturally gifted person will lag behind a person with less talent and more discipline. When all is said and done, showing up for practice without fail is a better formula for success compared to raw, untapped talent.
The rule applies across the board. Even the most talented musician needs hours of practice in order to nail a performance.
3) Master the basics to master the art
This applies to every skill that you can perfect. When you take up boxing, the first few lessons will teach you six punches that are the building blocks of boxing; the jab, cross, left hook, right hook, left uppercut, and right uppercut. Once you have a good grasp of these, your trainer will slowly ease you into simple combinations. You will progress and learn to execute more complex moves, but you will always go back to the fundamentals.
Even the best boxers spend a chunk of their time perfecting the most basic of boxing techniques. They practice the six basic punches to improve precision and they practice them to improve speed. They also practice these basics to build power.
So, take this useful tidbit and use it in other areas of your life. Get back to basics, not because you are a newbie but because you want to level up. Nothing adds an edge to your skills like infusing them with more speed, more power, and pinpoint precision.
4) Be light on your feet
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Both figuratively and literally, because in sparring and life, you do not want to be caught flatfooted. Whether you take up dancing, running, or a martial art, your instructor will always remind you to use the balls of your feet.
You will also learn to think on your feet. Sparring with a human who reacts is different from practicing on a punching bag. As you spar, you must anticipate your opponent’s move. You also need to make a split-second decision on whether to feint, block, or parry your opponent’s strike.
In that split second you also try to find a way to counter your opponent’s attack, if possible.
You can use the same principle in the real world. For starters, use the quick mind that you (will surely) develop from boxing to solve unexpected challenges. Learn how to read a situation and anticipate what’s coming at you and deal with it in a way that minimizes your exposure.
5) Fear is a natural response that you can use to your advantage
This one goes out to all the people that admire boxing but hate the concept of taking a punch. When you take up boxing, your trainer will ease you into the boxing ring. They start you off with boxing drills on pads or a heavy bag, so that you can work on speed and power. You will graduate to footwork and drills that help you to master basic defensive maneuvers.
If you ever decide to add sparring sessions to your training, you’ll be confident that you will make it out of the ring in one piece. Also, your attention will be too focused on sparring, leaving little room for worry.
Life’s challenges are pretty much the same. You prepare for a given challenge and worry whether you’ll come out on the winning side. But on the big day, you use the fear to propel you. Whether it is a case of nerves before a big boxing match or the uncertainty that comes with the launch of a new business, fear can be the fuel you need to exceed your own expectations.
The best part is that the nerves go away once your ‘battle’ gets underway.
Gain the skills you need to navigate the boxing ring that is life. The sacrifice, commitment, and training that you need to become a good boxer are versatile assets. They help you to live a fuller and more successful life outside of the boxing gym. Take up boxing and watch yourself transform.
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