The Secret to Life and Training
"Persistence without focus is a train on a circular track. Focus without persistence is a stationary train on a straight track. Focus with persistence is a high speed locomotive that doesn't need a track."
I'm going to ask you a question and I need you to come up with an answer to illustrate something important. If you're truthful with your answer, you might learn something about where you currently are in your life. Here it comes...
Why do you train?
Now, look at your response and put yourself into one of the following groups:
Group A - Your answer included an action and a time limit. Examples include specific responses such as:
- To lose 10 pounds in 3 months
- To gain 10 pounds in 1 month
- To decrease your bodyfat percentage by 3% over 6 weeks
- To win a fight that is scheduled in 6 weeks
Group B - Your answer was general and lacked either an action or a time limit or both. Examples include general statements such as:
- To get in better shape
- To lose weight
- To gain weight
- To learn boxing skills
- I don't know - but I know I train for some reason
Is it Better to Be in Group A or B?
If you've ready any self-help books, I bet you put yourself in Group A because every self-proclaimed self-help guru tells you you need to define a goal and a time limit for achieving it. If you haven't been brainwashed, then you probably just know what the result is you want and will find yourself in Group B.
Actually, neither is perfect on its own.
If you're in Group A you know what you want - you have focus and the time limit you placed on yourself acts as the catalyst or motivation to go merrily on your way to achieving that focus. So you're off and running, but are you running a curved path or a straight one? You may initially be aimed at your destination, but the problem is that you could expend an unbelievable amount of effort getting there. You run the risk of having your train run out of fuel and quit after missing deadline after deadline or failing to stop at the refuelling checkpoints along the way.
If you're in Group B, you seem to know what you want - you have an idea, but you don't really. You see something through the fog, but you haven't really seen it and there really is no real urgency to get it. Because you haven't told yourself how long you have to get there, chances are you aren't doing anything to move your train to that location. You are the stationary train waiting for some magical force to get moving. You continue to dream of that ideal, and will start moving when the stars align. Problem is, that getting an object moving takes a heck of a lot of energy and tomorrow never comes.
In reality, it doesn't matter if you're in Group A or Group B, because both groups of aren't getting anywhere fast.
Where you really need to be is in Group C.
It's like driving a car from New York to Los Angeles in 4 days. You know where you're going and how long it is going to take you to get there. Everything else that happens in the span of that 4 days will either help you get to Los Angeles or stop you from getting to Los Angeles. Even with this focus, you are not getting to Los Angeles without something called...
You could get a flat tire, get into an accident, or somehow get sidetracked, effectively losing your focus. However when you have persistence, it doesn't matter what happens, you will eventually get to Los Angeles, even if you miss the deadline, even if you have to walk or crawl -- your focus is never lost. Nothing is going to stop you from getting to Los Angeles.
That end result, your ultimate focus, is non-negotiable - you have to end up in Los Angeles. You have the ideal situation in mind - 4 days time, but even if that 4 days comes and goes, failing to meet that deadline does not negate the fact that you need to get to Los Angeles.
So what do you do? When day 4 comes around, do you quit and sit down on the side of the road - or do you keep going? If all you have is focus and no persistence, you sit down and start wishing you could end up in Los Angeles rather than taking the necessary action to get there.
Blah, blah, blah...what does all this have to do with boxing training?
There is nothing that takes more persistence than becoming the best boxer you can be. Every aspect of your life has to be focused on the prize and only you can define what that prize is. It could be to win your next fight, or lose 10 lbs, or to perfect your jab. It doesn't matter, but what does matter is the single minded focus and persistence to drive towards that focus at all cost.
I have a lot of ideas, completely unrelated to boxing that most people would consider crazy and stupid -- but as far as I am concerned, not one of them is unachievable. No matter how crazy or stupid or completely impossible something seems, I have learned that it isn't if you know what you want (focus) and will spend all of your time and energy moving in as straight a line as possible towards that focus (persistence).
So, this time when you ask yourself the question:
Why do you Train?
Commit to the persistence.
So, in order to put together a rock solid training plan that is going to incorporate both focus and persistence, do the following:
- Focus on one thing (that's why it is called focus...). This goes for everything., but with training decide what the focus of your training is for the upcoming timeframe you set. You can only divide your time and energy up so much before everything grinds to a halt. Believe me, when you have more than one thing going on, the result is that everything starts to slow down. It is far better to focus on one thing and finish it to the highest standard possible and then start something else. Multitasking, as it's called, has been shown to be highly inefficient. It's like shooting a rifle and aiming at multiple targets at the same time - you won't hit anything.
- Plan and Revise. Do not start moving towards your goal without a plan, but at the same time, start moving. Huh? Take the first step today - it is usually easily identifiable. For instance, if you want to learn to box, then buy this complete boxing training program (my shameless plug) and do Day 1 tomorrow (or even today if you have enough time). Then revise your plan as you go. You may start off on a curved track, but if you're moving, it is easier to make turns than to wait until the perfect time to start moving -- because that perfect time never, ever comes.
- Measure Your Progress. Persistence is the result of motivation and motivation breeds persistence. Use the progress reports on How to Box to measure your progress and to see when you're moving towards your focus. You have to take off the blindfold and have some way of knowing when you do something right. If you follow a plan that makes you add weight when you are trying to lose it, but don't see that it is happening, you don't even know that your train is going in reverse.
That's all there is to it. See what you want and don't let anything stop you from getting there. Sounds like fluff, but once you grasp this concept, you are going to achieve great things, not only in boxing, but in the rest of your life as well. So, tell me - why do you train?