“You can map out a light plan or a life plan but when action starts it may not go the way you planned, and you’re down to the reflexes you developed in training…” Joe Frazier (American Professional Boxer)
A friend shared with me how his son was preparing for a formal boxing match. Beyond conditioning, essential of course, was training on how to take a punch to the jaw.
The natural tendency when you are hit and disoriented, beyond knowing where you are, is to do two things: first, to retreat and second, to begin swinging wildly to protect yourself. This is a natural response when you are not sure where you are, where your opponent is, or where the next strike might come from.
Boxers must train to resist that natural response. The training boxers receive, very often while blindfolded, teaches them to counter natural reactions and resist retreat. Backing up actually puts a boxer in greater danger of the power spot of a full extension hit and, therefore, in greater danger of getting knocked out.
And instead of reacting with wildly swinging arms, exposing their vulnerable flanks and taking them off balance, the better posture is to bend in place, and protect head and body by pulling their hands up high with their arms shielding their sides and abdomen. These counter-intuitive moves provide protection, and they allow time to recover and reorient the boxer’s mind.
These training measures are opposite of our natural instincts. And, while most of us will not find ourselves in a boxing ring, this same training principle – to react less by instinct, and more with training we know to be effective – is important in uncertain situations that impact us (and threaten to knock us out) in relationships, in our careers, in life planning, and in our investing, too.
We would do well to stand firm and resist the instinctive pullback as a natural reaction to a disorienting hit. And we might train ourselves not to swing wildly, latching on to any new ideas just to counteract our temporary confusion.
Many choose not to even get in the ring at all, fearing a few bruises or a knockout. But recognize that it’s training based on proven strategy that allows a boxer and an investor to persevere and win the fight.
Be confident in your preparation and long-term strategy. Stand firm during temporary setbacks and difficult circumstances. Don’t abandon solid, effective time-tested strategies to follow wild swings based on unproven, short-sighted ideas.
Sooner or later, we’re all going to take a hit. That much is sure. But if you can stand firm on your principled training, you will improve the likelihood of recovering well, avoiding a knockout and becoming even stronger for the next round.
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Highland Consulting Associates, Inc. is a registered investment adviser. Information presented is for educational purposes only and does not intend to make an offer of solicitation for the sale or purchase of specific securities, investments, or investment strategies. Investments involve risk and unless otherwise stated, are not guaranteed. Be sure to first consult with a qualified financial adviser and/or tax professional before implementing any strategy discussed herein. Past performance is not indicative of future performance.