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In 1892, James J. Corbett became the first boxing heavyweight world champion, winning by knock-out in the 21st round.
This is what he had to say on the art of being a champion:
“Fight one more round.
When your feet are so tired that you have to shuffle back to the centre of the ring,
fight one more round.
When your arms as so tired that you can hardly lift your hands to come on guard,
fight one more round.
When your nose is bleeding and your eyes are black and you are so tired that you wish your opponent would crack you on the jaw and put you to sleep,
fight one more round,
remembering that the man who always fights one more round is never whipped.”
Thousands of years ago, people discovered fire for the first time.
What a remarkable discovery it was, giving them the ability to stay warm, to light the darkness and cook their food.
Today, we each have the opportunity to discover a new kind of fire for ourselves.
To identify what we were born to do.
To do meaningful work that gets our heart beating faster.
As a teenager, Bill Hybels was being mentored by an older man who asked him,
“What are you going to do with your life that will last forever?”
Bill was a bright young man who could easily have gone into business and made a lot of money. He was a natural leader and people could see that whatever he chose to do he would be successful, but this question challenged him.
It challenged him because deep down, he knew that there was more to life than money and material things.
It challenged him because deep down, he know that he could have done a lot of things that looked impressive from a worldly perspective.
If your goals and aspirations are as grand as they should be, you can’t expect to achieve them overnight, so today I want to encourage you to keep chipping away.
Every action helps.
Every step forward.
Every phone call.
Every mistake made and lesson learned.
Every training session.
You’re fully fledged now.
Your wings are strong enough to carry you.
You are fully equipped to fly.
But you look out of the comfort of the nest and it looks scary.
It is scary.
It goes without saying that you love your kids and your spouse.
That you are proud of the efforts of the people around you.
That you are amazed at the ingenuity of others.
That you are grateful to those who help, inspire and encourage you.
That you are praying for family, friends and those in need.
There is a lonely tree that hangs grimly onto a cliff-face somewhere, with no visible means of support.
There is a lion who launches at a passing zebra and grips tightly with its claws and teeth, being dragged along by its prey.
That same zebra kicks and leaps and does everything that it can to escape the clutches of its predator.
There is a gull flying against the strong gales of the coast, flapping hard against the power of the wind and slowly making progress.
We all know that Rome wasn’t built in a day, but what if it takes years for you to achieve your goals?
What if your progress is slower than you anticipated?
What if others seem to have an easier ride and get there before you?
What if you get distracted or make bad decisions along the way?
What if the recognition that you crave for your work seems to take a long time to materialise?
Whatever it is that you want to do with your life, whether it’s running a marathon, raising kids, starting a business or growing vegetables in the backyard, if you’re fully committed to what you are trying to do, you’ll find a way.
You’ll find a way to learn the skills required to be successful.
You’ll find a way to persist when times get tough.
You’ll do the grunt work when no-one is watching.
You’ll plan your time properly and prioritise the important over the trivial.
I had a bad day yesterday.
But today will be better.
I’m not sure that I was the best dad I could be.
But I’ll learn from that.
I think I could have interacted better with my clients.