Mindset is everything. You might be born lucky and be genetically gifted or even have an abundance of wealth and opportunity? Yet, without developing your mindset you probably won’t reach your full potential.
My boxing coach Barry, who had many quotes of wisdom that he shared at the gym or cafe once said…: “to be the best, you have to tick all the boxes” and by that he meant that for a fighter to be great, not just good, but to be the best, then that fighter had to have it all.
Okay, so what does “ticking all the boxes look like”?
As far as boxing goes, and from what I have seen, I imagine it would look something like: Sugar Ray Robinson, Muhammad Ali, Roy Jones Jnr, Manny Pacquiao, and definitely Mike Tyson. These are the kind of fighters that I think of who at their best could tick all the boxes, especially in their prime.
I agree with Barry’s opinion and observation because to become or be a great fighter it really does take a mix of special ingredients, and on that list there are many boxes that have to be ticked to truly be considered great.
Here are just a few I can think of…
Fitness, talent, ability, heart, skill, instinct, consistency, discipline, courage, wisdom, opportunity, belief… and last but not least, the right mindset.
Barry had another even truer quote that he would sometimes say…
“There is one in every pub...”
Meaning there is a 'has been' or more commonly found "a could have been" in many of the pubs and clubs in the South Wales Valleys.
Sadly, you can often find or meet guys in the local bar that maybe had enough potential to have achieved something more in life, through sport. Be it in boxing, football or rugby, etc. A person who had the ability yet they either wasted it or it eluded them because of poor lifestyle choices, lack of guidance or discipline, injury or just bad luck.
Having worked on the nightclub doors in the Valleys for close to a decade, I only saw this quote to be all too true.
When I began competing as an MMA fighter my dream, goal and vision was to become world champion… I actually believed I would, and I won some domestic titles, had a load of fights and gained a ton of experience. The reality is I wasn’t good enough to become World Champion.
On the other hand, I quite literally fought my way to be here where I am today, making an honest living from sharing my passion in coaching and training people in Boxing and MMA in Hong Kong.
I have been living here in Asia for almost five years, and it's been one hell of a ride so far in going from scraping by to make a living in fighting and working the doors in the Rhondda, to being on the verge of joining the British Army, to actually working hard and settling here.
It's safe to say that my life path has largely been shaped from my involvement in combat sports. I gained a lot of experience under the guidance of Paul Jenkins in MMA and learned a lot from Barry's mentorship both in and out of the ring. I had a "fight anyone, anywhere" attitude and I learned along the way. I have also learnt that in the fight game especially, you never stop learning!
I have read quotes that say "life is about finding yourself"; well, I think that’s a load of b*llocks. Because in my experience, I think life is about creating yourself.
You don't have to have all the ingredients to make your own path, because it’s all a state of mind. Of course, it does help to have a little bit of good luck along the way, but the funny thing is... "The Harder you Work, the Luckier you Get"
ABC Model Part 2: ABC Formula that can contribute to becoming better in body and mind. *Do not believe what I'm telling you, just because I say it. Verify everything in your own experience. If it works for you, use it. If not, forget it.
Awareness: what you are giving attention to. Attention: you get more of what you focus on. Action: articulate positive action with the right attitude.
BELIEFS (VALUES) Behaviour: all must be in alignment and congruent with your goals. Belief: determines our behaviour, develop a can do attitude. Body language: posture, breathing, healthy habits.
COMMITTED (GROWTH) Communication: internal & external. Mental & physical. Clear, open minded and certain. Culture: be the best within the culture you are operating in. Know the game, identify your own strengths and weaknesses. Character: courage and wisdom, govern yourself according to your values.
Here is a clever checklist that I created (modest, I know!), structured in the ABC format. I sometimes use it as a reference to create order in the chaos that is life. I hope that some of you might find it a useful tool.
Adversity Brings Challenge = Resilience & Growth.
In a world of many distractions such as social media etc, it's important to know what to focus on. Consider this list a tool for assertiveness training for those with low self-esteem or sometimes need direction in life, remember the map is not the territory, you can create your own reality. It's all in the head.