One of my most effective physical workout routines over the years has been boxing. I can honestly say nothing challenges my physical endurance more than throwing punches for multiple rounds, while also trying to not get hit! It's a chess match of sorts. One of the greatest lessons I've learned in boxing is that an opponent, regardless of size, cannot fight back when the body shuts down. Before the first punch is ever thrown, within the chess match in my head, I know exactly where I plan on attacking the opponent . . . the kidney. One well-placed shot here puts an end to the fight. The opponent's mind may wish to continue, but their body will tell them otherwise. Now, stay with me for there is definitely a life connection coming. However, before reading on, if you wish, watch the video below to see this concept in action.
Attack the Weak Spot in Life
You know life is not that different from a boxing bout. Life does throw a variety of punches; life often connects with these punches; and at times, life more than likely will knock you out. You must learn to dodge, weave and strike back when necessary. You see, life strikes us with a variety of challenges in our places of work, our relationships, our perceived failures, etc. However, I often utilize my boxing strategy with life (although she is a far more formidable opponent!)
When challenges/difficulties present themselves, I look to see if this "opponent" has a weak spot (its kidney) that I can attack. Let's take a look at some examples I have experienced and how I used such a strategy.
Challenge - a difficult student within the classroom
Opponent Weakness - lack of attention/positive role model
Victory Strategy - positive attention
*This challenge has reared its head many times throughout my 25-year teaching career. More often than not, these children are acting out because they are lacking at something else in their lives. Usually, the missing component is a nurturing home environment and/or a positive adult role model. By discovering this "weakness" in my opponent, I am able to connect and create a powerful relationship with these children, showing them that there is someone in their life that truly sees and cares about them.
Challenge - a difficult (pain in the butt) colleague
Opponent Weakness - envy
Victory Strategy - cut em' loose
*This one is annoying, but easy to defeat. In my years and experience, 9.9 times out of 10 if someone has an issue with me (or anyone else for that matter), it's because they have problems in their own life that they project on me . . or the green monster has paid them a visit: ENVY. They may wish they could do what I do; wish that their students liked them as much as mine do; want more attention from me than I currently give; succeed in areas that I have, which they have not. Truly the list could go on. The bottom line is that envy is a powerful beast and it causes people to often be unkind or underhanded. To defeat this opponent, I must remember this notion: If you are a kind person, there's very little I can do to make you unkind. However, if you're a spiteful, unkind person, there's very little I can do to make you kind. Therefore, I simply cut the cord. I remember that I don't have the time in my life to give residence to someone's negativity. I simply ignore them.
Challenge - (Me) wanting what I don't have
Opponent Weakness - the comparison game
Victory Strategy - see the big picture
*Yes, at times we can be our own toughest opponent. Here I need to recall the words of Theodore Roosevelt who stated, "Comparison is the thief of joy." In essence, I remind myself that the grass may look greener, but that's not necessarily the case. So what if I don't have a pool or a Range Rover or a 5,000 square foot house. Who's to say the families there are truly happy? Is their dad traveling 24/7 and never there in order to make that much money? Do the kids get a great deal of attention? Is there happiness behind the facade? I have no idea as to those answers regarding this metaphorical family, but I do have the answers for me.
-No, I do not have to travel all the time and be away from my family.
-Yes, my kids receive a great deal of attention and know they're loved greatly.
-Yes, our home is a happy one, because we're always together.
Therefore, quit comparing and be happy with the blessings that I have!
Challenge - being told my mom was going to die in 2nd grade
Opponent Weakness - a disease doesn't have a heart; my mom and I do/did
Victory Strategy - cherish each moment given
*While losing my mom so young was certainly not a victory in any sense of the word, her and my attitude towards this beast (cancer) kept it at bay as long as we could. Thereby, my mom didn't waste her time, nor did I (even at such a young age). In fact, we made as many memories as we could for the 5.5 years she battled with all her heart and soul. She got to see me become a teenager, and I have an extra 5.5 years of memories due to our team strategy of being thankful for the time we were given and most importantly . . . NOT WASTING A MOMENT OF IT.
Now, the challenges do not end there. I'm sure you have your own stockpile of difficulties/challenges as we speak. My challenge for you is to search for their weakness and attack (for lack of a better word). Are we going to win every battle? Nope. Can we fight with all our might? Yep. If we find a weakness, can we expose it and claim some well-fought victories? Yep!