How to Have Good Luck…
I looked the Late Late Show last Friday night and was well rewarded with the Andy Lee interview.
I’m not a boxing fan. As a schoolboy, I had two bouts. The training is terrific. Really terrific. It’s exhilarating, and it’s terrifying. It’s exhilarating because you challenge, explore, rummage and scrutinize the very core of your existence. The physicality is extreme. It’s terrifying because as you prepare for the bout, the enormity of the commitment begins to dawn on you. From the moment of decision, your mind goes into a realization of what you’ve let yourself in for. What if I can’t do this? What if I get hammered? Make a fool of myself? Get trounced, beaten, humiliated, shamed?
The word ‘training’ takes on a whole new meaning. Every session is an opportunity to sharpen, hone, speed your reflexes. You’re training for survival. You’re defending your life, your very existence. When you’re not doing it, you’re thinking about it, planning, shaping your moves, curling your fists and opening your hands, practicing in your mind, combinations, hooks, defensive cover. You’re exposed to God only knows what. And it was your decision. You casually agreed to the event and now you’re in it. Like it or not.
Whether it’s a schoolboy contest in a country college, or a world-stage event on global television, for the contestants, it has become life’s meaning. The intensity of the physical training, the mental gymnastics, the emotional turmoil, are enormous.
You rely on speed, power, strength and stamina, not only physically, but mentally. You rely on your mind, your will, to maintain your aim in a maelstrom of relentless violence. Every second is a lifetime. That’s how fast, and how slow, it is. Like a car crash.
You’re not only using all your resources to survive, but trying to beat, pummel, subdue your opponent. Survival is success. Success is all. Or nothing.
It’s total. You win or you lose. There are no draws. Never mind the scorecards. They’re for the onlookers. The contest is between the two in the ring.
Unless you’ve experienced it, there isn’t a place on the planet, in spite of the noise, the bustle and raucous bellowing of voices and announcements, that has that searing, complete, isolated loneliness of the fighter’s corner, ten seconds before the first round.
Andy Lee went into his challenge as a complete outsider. None expected him to even compete seriously. As the bout progressed, it was following the line of prediction. His opponent was ahead on points. From the ringside, it looked bleak for the Irishman. He could have succumbed to the easy option. No one would have blamed him. He was the 6 to 1 outsider. Korobov, the title holder, his supporters, and many others thought of it as a practice bout. So, Andy Lee could have boxed on, made a doughty fight of it, and lost with honour.
But Andy Lee had decided, and chosen, his own expectation. He and his wife, and his coach, had different ideas. His coach told him to box, keep his head straight, and wait for his chance. A chance always comes.
When Andy Lee’s chance came, he had the speed of thought to see it, the presence of mind to take it, and the wit to see that this was it. Now. This instant. This invisibly quick fleeting moment, when he unleashed a flurry of punches, hooks, jabs and body shots that rocked the champion. This had to be it, the end for the champion. For if he, Korobov, survived this, Andy Lee would be spent, drained, sapped of all energies.
His commitment was absolute.
Some, in a fit of puerile, schoolyard pique at having their predictions upset, said that Andy Lee was fortunate; caught the champion off-guard, threw a few lucky punches.
As a non-fan of boxing, my admiration for Andy Lee is immense, as it is for any human who kicks the odds, follows his wish, risks everything, humiliation, ridicule, and more besides.
But the real point of this piece is this; from the moment of deciding, years previously, to put his heart and soul into the one chance he had of making a life for himself, Andy Lee had set himself up to be a World Champion. He had prepared himself, in mind, body and in spirit, for his journey and for his destination. When that split second opening, in the title fight appeared, he was ready. The years of mind-bending, body-stretching, exhaustive preparation fired in. And that’s how he won.
And there’s your formula for good luck; in a boxing ring, in business, in love, and in life.