Two Years ago at the age of 50, my brother Phil decided to go back to one of his passions, boxing, and take up the challenge and enter a White Collar Boxing event. Now many people told him that at 50 his time had passed, this was for younger man’s game and he should give it a miss.
But Phil just smiled and said he was ready to give it a shot, he was fit enough, he’d been an Army boxing champion so he had the experience.
After months of training, sparring and preparation Phil stepped into the ring against a younger and fitter opponent, Phil fought well but he lost on points. Phil had put up a good show, but it wasn’t enough.
There’s a saying in boxing that father time is the only undefeated champion, and it looked like Phil had confirmed that.
It was time to concede defeat, hang up the gloves and go out knowing you did your best and that you had just gotten beaten by a better fighter, that would be the normal thing to do.
However, my brother Phil is made of tougher stuff. And he asked himself had he done his best, had he given his all, had he been beaten by father time, or had he not prepared hard enough, did he have the right mindset going into the fight.
In his heart, Phil knew that he could have done more, that he could have done better, that he had not given his best, and so rather than hang up his gloves he decided to come back and give it another shot.
He knew in truth that he was slower than he liked, and he lacked the endurance of younger men, so he decided that he would train twice as hard, twice as long and do twice as much sparring than he had done the last time.
He decided to double down. He decided to give his best, and he was also content that if he gave his best and lost he could live with that. It was the not doing his best that ate away at him, and not the defeat.
Due to other commitments, i.e. participating in the Spine Race – the toughest race in the world, Phil couldn’t compete last year, (I told you he was made of tougher stuff), so 2018 was the year he would try and set the record straight.
Phil made sure that his prep was as good as it could be, he changed his eating habits to eat healthier, he made sure he got enough sleep as well as doing all the boxing training. Phil knew that father time was waiting for him but he wanted to be in the best shape, the best condition and give it his best shot.
By the time the fight came around, Phil was in a much better shape that he was two years previously, both physically and more importantly mentally. He knew he was ready, he knew his best would be delivered and he believed it would be good enough to see him to victory.
This year his opponent was younger, fitter, bigger and also heavier, which is never a good thing in boxing, but Phil was undaunted. In his mind he was ready.
The bell rang and Phil stepped forward he was taking on both his younger opponent and Father time in a doubleheader.
Phil was unrelenting, he was determined and this was the punch that ended the fight. It was a first-round technical knock out. His opponent stunned, wobbling and out of his senses was saved by the referee.
Phil had won, and more importantly, he’d done his best.
He’d put in the performance he knew was capable of and he had given Father Time a bloody nose, and now he is ready to hang up his gloves.
The importance of mindset is critical to anything you do.
When you have the right mindset it will ensure that you will achieve your best, that you will put in a performance that you are capable of, knowing that you could have done more.
And maybe that won’t be enough, but what stings most people is not defeat, but knowing that they didn’t do their best.