Lesson #5: “I let negativity roll off me like water off a duck’s back.”

Growing up, Foreman's life was not an easy one. He experienced one setback after another, each threatening to veer him off course towards greatness. Foreman, however, managed to overcome. From acknowledging his own weaknesses to avoiding the destructive power of negativity, Foreman's career is evidence that greatness can often come from a path of greater struggle.

Foreman dropped out of junior high school and quickly found himself caught up in street life. He was mugging people on the streets and hanging out with the wrong crowds. With no formal education and a criminal record, many who knew Foreman doubted he could ever make anything of himself.

Then, in 1965, Foreman joined the U.S. Job Corps. He hoped it was the beginning of a new life, one of responsibility and one that kept him out of trouble. But trouble is exactly what Foreman found when he could not keep his attitude and confrontational style in check. In fact, Foreman found himself on the verge of expulsion until his supervisor found a completely different outlet for the seemingly angry young man - boxing.

Things did not necessarily get any easier for Foreman after discovering his hidden talent in boxing. When he first started to fight, he admits to having gotten scared, so much so that he would simply close his eyes and swing his massive fists at opponents to win the match. It was not until he started meeting boxers that were better than him that he had to start adopting a new strategy of keeping his eyes open.

Foreman had few easy victories in his life, in the ring included. In his famous match against Smokin' Joe Frasier, Foreman had to knock Frasier down a total of six times before he finally won the fight, each time praying that Frasier would finally stay down.

In 1991, Foreman found himself in another fight of a lifetime. He was 40 years old, far above his prime as a boxer, and he had just re-entered the ring after a ten year absence. He was now being paired up against Evander Holyfield for the championship title. Fans and critics alike prepared for the worst, with the odds heavily stacked against Foreman.

In the end, Foreman lost the fight by decision. Still, Foreman came out ahead, having gained a wealth of respect from the entire boxing industry for his solid comeback. At 40 years old, Foreman had put up a greater fight than many young boxers half his age. As a result, when Foreman was 45 years old and won the heavyweight title over a 26 year old, few were hardly surprised.

Foreman overcame having no education, having an angry temperament that got him into trouble time and again, and his own weaknesses to make boxing and business history. In doing so, he showed us that success was about reaching for the impossible, but that it did not always necessarily have to be about winning. By overcome his personal obstacles, Foreman achieved the greatest success there is.

Want More?

New Graphic
Subscriber Counter