• John Panepinto

3 Powerful Life Lessons I Learned From Studying Professional Fighters



For as long as I can remember, I've always loved the sport of boxing and the world of professional fighters.

Not many 10 year olds out there immersed in the sport as I did back then. I could tell you who the best boxers of each decade were, dating back to the 1920's, what their styles were, and what made them great. Everyone from heavyweight champions like Jack Dempsey of the 1920s, Sonny Liston of the 1960s, up to the star-studded 90s era of Mike Tyson, Lennox Lewis, and Evander Holyfield.

Though my dream is no longer to be a professional boxer, I still train each week, and keep the lessons I've learned from the sport closely as I pursue my current mission.

Today I was inspired to share with you 3 powerful life lessons I picked up from studying professional fighters for the bulk of my life - that I believe will apply to your journey towards becoming the best version of yourself.

Without further ado - let's get to it.


Lesson #1 - When You're Chasing Big Goals - You Need To Have a Support System


Though Boxing is an individual sport - all boxers have a team in their corner that supports them when they go to battle.


The journey begins with the boxer, who has to commit to the journey and their goal of winning - from that point on, a coach is often brought in to nurture, teach, and train them towards improvement and becoming ready for the task at hand.


The work itself - can also only be done by the boxer.


Though the onus is heavily weighted towards the boxer in these aspects - it is the trainers, manager, and cut-man that gives the boxer the mental support they need, on their toughest days.


Professional fighters are human, and there are many days in which they don't feel like doing the work, have bad days, or lapses in motivation.


It is in these down-moments, that the team comes into play - to fire them back up, be their support system, and get them back on track.


No matter how great of a fighter you are - a fighter can only go so far as his team around them. They need the right people around them and supporting them. Without this - they become miss out on their true potential (as they don't have people to hold them accountable and challenge them), and become susceptible to giving up (as they don't have people to pick them back up when they may need it).


Now think of your own journey...


If you're pursuing big goals, and a big mission, in which the path to getting there will be hard at times - you will likely need a strong support system and good people around you, to ensure you get there.


You're going to need people to hold you accountable to what you should and shouldn't be doing.


You're going to need people to challenge you, tell you the truth, and help you push your limits for growth.


You're also going to need people to pick you back up when you're down, and remind you, that you're a bad MF at what you do (in a good way).


Lesson #2 - Life Is a Game of Will - The One With The Stronger Will, Wins


Boxing is a game of will.


The great Cus D'amato (trainer of Mike Tyson) was quoted in saying that boxing is pretty much 90% mental, 10% physical.


This is because, if your mind isn't right, and you don't have the will-power to accomplish what you're aiming to accomplish - then your physical prowess is pretty much meaningless.


A lesser fighter with more will-power, will always beat a more talented fighter, who lacks will-power - sheerly by outlasting them. Their willing to fight longer and harder, to accomplish their goal, relative to their opponent.


The individual with the stronger will, wins.


This isn't always for the 'night of' the fight either. This has to do heavily with the events leading up to it, in preparation as well.


It is in training and in preparation for the fight, that the will is truly tested and that the test of whose will is stronger also comes in to play.


Who is willing to eat the right foods? Who is willing to put in that extra hour in the gym?


Who is willing to sacrifice the pleasures and temptations?


Who is willing to apply the discipline and do the work?


The one who is willing to go farther, out-work, and out-will the other fighter - will be the winner of the bout.


Life in a lot of ways is like this as well. It is the individual with the stronger will, that is going to win.


So think to yourself - how strong is your will-power towards the things you're aiming to accomplish?

Are you doing the work? Are you making the sacrifices? Are you doing what you know you need to do?


Are you saying 'no' to things that take you off your path?


Are you saying 'yes' to the hard things, that you know are good for you?


Life is a game of will - so build your will-power as strong as possible!



Lesson #3 - The Difference Between Good & Great Is Professionalism


The difference between boxers who are 'good', and boxers who are 'great' is in professionalism.


The boxers who are willing to do what needs to be done, no matter how they feel inside - are the ones who become great. It is a slight edge.


Doing that extra set.


Running that extra mile.


Getting up early on the weekends, when you could be sleeping in.


These extra actions, all compound and add up to putting them leaps and bounds ahead of their competition over time.


It is these boxers - who go on to become names that last forever in legacy.


Why? Because having the discipline to do what needs to be done, even on the days they don't feel like it - gives them the edge over the vast majority who fall in to the temptation of inaction, procrastination, and laziness.


If you're setting big goals for yourself - it is absolutely necessary that you separate logic from emotion, and do what you know you need to do.


Don't make your decisions based off of 'how you feel' that day.


Instead, make your decisions based off of what you know you need to do, to reach your goals.


Read those books.


Get into a disciplined workout routine.


Eat the right foods.


Invest in yourself.


Do what needs to be done!


In Closing:


In closing - boxing is a lot like life in many ways.


Keep a strong support system around you.


Build strong will-power and mental toughness.


Cultivate discipline, be a professional, and do what you know you need to do - even on day's where you don't feel like it.


Now go make your dreams come true!


Take care, guys!


What is Purpose & Action?