Learning to be quiet in the noise
By Neil Perkins
I don’t know if business taught me about boxing or boxing taught me about business? I suppose that fighting is just something that you either have an appetite for, or you don’t? On the contrary, when you learn strategy and that boxing is about skills and controlling emotion as opposed to getting mad and ‘having it’ – anyone can learn to fight. Anyone who has ever run a business will tell you of the battles. In boxing you rationalise that everyone has two arms, one head and they can bleed. In business you learn that as long as your numbers stack up, your systems and process are good and you have the right people that you’ll be fine. In reality, both are a little more complex and require action to make you succeed. I am more scared of a spread sheet than I am of a world champion.
Boxing has an ability to unsettle you. If ever you watch a ‘fit person’ spar for the first time and they get ate up by nervous energy and incessant heavy breathing. Their primal instincts of ‘Fight, Flight or Freeze take over. When someone is panicked their body language changes, their disposition changes and as I refer to it ‘the noise’ takes over. There is a reason why man has dominated the globe, we are vindictive and capable of utilising our intellect for our self-gratification. I am not in the mood for debating the theory of evolution, but under pressure we resort to our primal instincts – Fight, Flight or Freeze. Letting your primal mind take over in a boxing ring is never a good idea – it’s a sure fire way to get you sat on your backside. Yes, our body may release the inner chimp and attack, but against someone who knows what they’re doing, it will end in a bad outcome.
It’s a perplexing situation when you’re been peppered with punches. Your ribs are sore, the bridge of your nose is swelling and you can taste the blood on the inside of your mouth that’s seeping into your mouth guard. Initially releasing your inner chimp feels good, we can use it to bully lesser men, but the real game comes when your chimp will get you sat on your arse. When your head keeps rocking back you realise that brain not brawn are the best way to overcome an obstacle. There is nothing better than making someone do what you want and setting traps, it’s better when the shot lands to closes the show. Under the pressure of combat and amongst the noise you have to find the peace in the noise to execute the shot. That’s the art of boxing.
Learning to be quiet in the panic of the noise, to pick my punches and close the show is one of the unique life skills that boxing has taught me. Someone asked me what I do for a job the other day, my response was simple
‘I make people better versions of themselves’
As part of business coaching, I have partaken in regular exercise and meditation to quiet my mind. Boxing taught me to make my mind quiet under the most intense noise. Learning to be quiet in the noise is a skill that I am grateful to have learned.