Jim Braddock’s rise from the soup lines… to number one heavyweight contender has truly been miraculous. - NBC Box Commentator (Baer vs. Braddock match)
Photo: Max Baer vs Jim Braddock in 1935
James Braddock was born in 1905. He started boxing early. At the age of 21 he turned pro, fighting as a light heavyweight and in just three years, he scored 21 knockouts.
In 1928, he lost to Tommy Loughranbadly and fractured his right hand in several places. His performance and disposition suffered, his record fell.
In 1929, a severe economic depression spread worldwide. The history named it: The great depression. Millions fell into poverty. Braddock’s family wasn’t sparred. He had to give up boxing and worked as a longshoreman. He had to accept government relief money to survive.
He eventually restarted his boxing career. He defeated a highly regarded heavyweight contender, Art Lasky, and he was given a title fight against the World Heavyweight Champion, Max Baer.
He worked hard: “I’m training for a fight. Not a boxing contest or a clownin’ contest or a dance. Whether it goes 1 round or 3 rounds or 10 rounds, it will be a fight and a fight all the way. When you’ve been through what I’ve had to face in the last two years, a Max Baer or a Bengal tiger looks like a house pet. He might come at me with a cannon and a blackjack and he would still be a picnic compared to what I’ve had to face.”
Braddock defeated Baer. For the boxing commentator, Braddock’s actions may have appeared as a “miraculous rise”. For many boxing wannabes and boxing coaches Braddock’s actions might appear as the recipe to success.
But which of the excellent boxers cares about rising miraculously? Which of them cares about success recipes? An excellent boxer cares about boxing, period.
Focus on doing what you do. Train for the fight rather than success.
Just like a lotus flower needs wet soil to develop, a musical mind needs to be fed with sound and rhythm to flourish. All minds are sensitive to music but some minds are more sensitive than others. That’s why not everyone can excel at DJing, piano playing or singing.
Have you ever asked yourself what kind of food does your mind need in order to flourish?
Consider that the orange circle in the picture below is a person. Say, Mr. Circle. All other geometric figures are people that this person admires. Even though there are similarities between these figures, everyone is unique in its own way.
“You can be anything you want to be, if you just try hard enough”. At first, Mr. Circle decides that he wants to be a star.
He tries hard but he fails. He then decides to be a square.
He tries hard but he fails. During his life he tries to be each of the figures that he admires the most.
At the end of his life, Mr. Circle is completely confused because he’s not able to say who he really is.
“You cannot be anything you want to be - but you can be a lot more of who you already are”. Trying to be anything else than what you already are, is a waste of time.
Instead of wasting your time, create great relationships with the people that you admire and kindly ask for their advice. Figure out how their advice is useful to you. Adapt. Grow. Be a bigger circle!
PS: Think of the same story when you evaluate anything external to you as “inspiring”. Instead of trying to imitate something that seems to be successful, step back and figure out how that piece of inspiration can be applied in the context of your values and strengths.
Nowadays, I hear a lot of people talking about taking the world with their businesses. I am referring especially to technology businesses. All of them get excited about the perspective that we are super connected, that information flows freely and reaching somebody at the other side of the world can be done in just a matter of seconds.
From a consumption perspective it’s easy to see why the world is flat. The Internet allows anyone to access any kind of website and other global distribution channels allow anyone to buy almost any kind of gadget no matter where it has been built.
But what about the perspective of innovation? Where is all this great technological stuff being designed? Take a look at the world map of innovation clusters. You’ll see that even though anyone can consume technology from anywhere around the world, the creation work is being done in just a few places.
The world is flat from the perspective of consumption but not from that of innovation - at least not yet (what do you think?)
A Spanish artist by the name of Cesar Diaz used only a photo camera, a light table and sand to illustrate “Take it easy (No Corras Tanto)” - a song created by his band: El Combolinga. No added effects, no post production, just imagination, simplicity and 3 months hard work.
Since childhood, we’re taught that certain activities should be done using certain tools: “Draw using a pencil”, “Write using a pen”, etc. Wouldn’t it be a great idea to allow yourself to do regular activities in a new way, even for a short while? You’d have one more alternative to break routine and create new opportunities to innovate.
“I used to be on Facebok a lot, but found that it left me feeling bad about my life” - confessed a friend of Stan James. Spend time on Facebook “watching” the glamorous lives of your “not-so-close” Facebook friends. It will make you feel bad about your life.
Your “not-so-close” Facebook friends are the new TV Stars writes Stan James in a thought provoking post. These people “are almost universally beautiful, live in interesting places, do interesting work (if they work at all), are unfailingly witty, and never have to do any cleaning. They never even need to use the toilet.” […]
Stan is hinting at a succulent question: Why our lives seem not-so-amazing in comparison with the lives of our “not-so-close” Facebook friends or the lives of the TV stars? Part of the answer can be found within the question: it is because we’re making comparisons. The other part of the answer has to do with desire. Let’s take a look at why comparison and desire can lead to unhappiness.
“Things are not always what they seem”. The way we make comparisons is inherently flawed. Look at the image above. Which one of the two light blue circles is bigger? Most people answer that the left one. The truth is that both circles are equal in size but they occur to us as they had different sizes. The different contexts (i.e: the dark blue circles) around each of the circles distort the reality. This means that the way people occur to us can be highly distorted simply because we’re making our evaluations within the wrong context (i.e: we don’t know them and their lives enough to create the right context to make accurate evaluations)
This type of comparison triggers questions like “What do they have and I don’t?” And so, our mind leaves on a trip to discover our insufficiencies. We wish we had all those things that are missing. We start desiring, wanting things that should exist in our lives so that we can too, be in a state of happiness, similar to those no-so-close Facebook friends of ours.
The sad reality is that no matter how fast we would cover those insufficiencies, we would always return to the same state of “i’m not happy, there’s something missing”. James Hong who cofounded hotornot.com paints this “vicious circle” very well: “When you get a Boxter you wish you had a 911, and you know what people who have 911s wish they had? They wish they had a Ferrari.” Even though I’m not a religious person, I know for sure why you shall not “desire your neighbor’s house nor field or male or female slave or donkey or anything that belongs to your neighbor”: it’s useless.
Most of the time, what leads us to unhappiness has a lot to do with the way we evaluate the world. Survival across millions of years trained our brain to evaluate and decide quickly. Speedy evaluations are also efortless. That’s because they’re based on what our brain “already knows” so we don’t have to think to much.
Evaluating and deciding quickly may be useful when you’re about to be hit by a car but not when creating your relationship with the world. Shortcuts are not always useful. Allow yourself more time before making evaluations, get to know the nature of the context around you. It might be very useful.
We are what we repeatedly do. You know what I mean, right? If you do, you also know that the “picture” below is not the complete. So, if you want to add something to it, please do it in the comments section.