alea iacta esto

Toshiaki v Munroe

I don’t watch boxing. My reason is that it’s too gory and it’s beastly. In fact, I don’t watch any competitive “sports”. The true reasons I now know are that I hate rooting for the losing side and I hate the way it makes my heart beat.

So it was quite surprising to me how I came to watch a boxing match this morning. I was at the gym cycling away with nary a thought and there was nothing else to focus my mind on but the television screen in front of me. There was a boxing match on between Toshiaki Mishioka, the Japanese WBC bantam weight champion and the challenger, the British Rendall Munroe. I did not know these facts at the time but I could see two guys, one black, the other oriental punching each other’s heads (like why?). My “natural” predisposition was to support the black guy under the thesis that black men are good at boxing. I thought of Ali, Sugar Ray and Tyson.

One minute later my mind expanded with enlightenment. Because in the previous sixty seconds I had watched the black Munroe bouncing around the ring, throwing punches, dancing on his feet, a pure fireball of energy. Mishioka was reserved, cool, careful and you could see that he was pacing himself. Being a ju jitsu practitioner myself, I thought, “heck, that’s smart”. The principle of ju jitsu is to let the other person do most of the work and then use his energy to knock him out. Sounds crazy and counter intuitive but it’s amazing when it’s used effectively. So I started rooting for Mishioka with three rounds to go.

I soon started to think about life in general and how we are so hopeless, especially us Occidentals, at using energy and pacing ourselves. We rush to the gym to get fit for summer and the beach. How many of those hyper people you see in your gym treat exercise as a lifelong endeavour? It’s not about 8 weeks to a sexy body but the rest of one’s life to a healthy constitution. I work in the investment industry where the market “punishes” any company that fails to make its quarterly numbers. You have to come above target which is an ever rising number. Long-term investment? Drop dead. You don’t meet that earnings-per-share figure set for you by an analyst who’s never met a wage bill in his life and your sky falls down. Politics: when was the last time we met a politician (Obama aside and look what problems he’s having) who laid down a long term strategic plan for his/her country? Advertising and marketing: it’s all about NOW. Be rich now. Be famous now. Be sexy now. Drink Crystal champagne now. Designer valuables now. Credit now. Because you’re worth it.

I can’t help but feel that I need to step out of this NOW culture. This is not about procrastination or being lazy. It’s about applying ju jitsu to life. I need to understand my own energy levels and learn to pace myself effectively. I’ve come to the conclusion that I’m better off being efficient than being all over the place. Let others wear themselves out trying to accomplish today what in the long run matters little. I’d rather be diligent about my dream. Slow it might look but it will be steady and when the opportunity opens up, bam! I strike. I suppose I’ve given away the boxing winner. Sorry.

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