Mindset Separates The Champion From The Challenger

Mindset Separates The Champion From The Challenger

Talent and experience are key ingredients, but mindset is the primary determinant of sustained success. Amateur boxers comprise the top 5% of school-level athletes and we could argue that professional boxers are another 1-to-5% of those. When you reach this level in any professional sport, everyone is talented. 

When talent is commonplace and success is reserved for one competitor per fight on-the-night, who are the competitors who realise their talent? 

If two boxers with equal talent are in pursuit of success and one loves to practise, then his entire experience of practice is different, because he is doing what he wants to be doing. The more you enjoy something, the better you’ll be at it. Similarly, you find young athletes at amateur-level who are comfortable in their skin - they’re not trying to prove they’re good enough or to win any approval from anyone or anything. These guys are playing the game out of their love for the sport. It is these boxers, who have a huge competitive advantage. Boxers and all of us included, are at our best when we’re ‘in the zone’, i.e. not concerned with ourselves and in the absence of thought, are reacting and playing on instinct. 

“It’s the absence of thought. It’s the absence of cognition. It’s the absence of emotion. That really is the advantage.” - Dr. Stan Beecham

Let’s pick this apart. We know that our mind is the control centre for everything our body does and so clearly our mindset and way of thinking are crucial for any success in life, business or sport. We can imagine the brain is a computer and our beliefs are our software. 

Imagine a talented athlete, in top condition and their mind operates counter to this: they’ll never reach their full, physical nor their performance potential. It’s imperative we begin by simply being aware of our own thinking and thought processes. Our brain is thinking at every waking moment of the day, but we aren’t always aware of these thoughts. 

Let’s take the example of a boxer entering a competition, with the belief that he hasn’t trained enough for the fight or that the other competitor will be much better prepared and that they are not ready for the competition, they will then carry this with them all the time - a self-inflicted acceptance of not being ready nor good enough. The thought process thereafter is easy to envisage: “I need to fight really well and really smart, to do well” and this way of thinking will influence the way we act.

Those that win consistently might just want to win really badly. I suspect this is not the whole story and that those who win a lot at a high-level don’t specifically think about the result, but simply believe that they are going to do well. If there’s some uncertainty as to how the fighter will perform and they ask themselves “am I going to win or not?”, then they will spend a lot of time concerned with the result. The more you prioritise giving your all versus achieving the performance outcome, the less that fear will interfere with your performance and the higher the odds you will achieve the desired outcome.

Boxing is as much mental as it is physical. At REAL we believe that the combination of mental and physical strength is where your performance potential lies. Unify body and mind to realise the Power of One.

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