I will never forget the time when I first came to LA and I was in the Britannia Pub in Santa Monica and I somehow got speaking to a little Irishman. I know this sounds like it’s turning into a joke, but it’s not. What this man said to me really changed my whole way of thinking and, I guess, my life for that matter.
I asked him why he was there and what he was doing. He was very secretive and I couldn’t get much out of him but, mysteriously, he was telling me he would stay here for a month, fly to Australia for a couple of months and never go back to Ireland… You could tell he was very wise and street smart and he asked why I was in Los Angeles.
I told him the story about how I trained in LA, loved the place and had applied for my Green Card just before retiring from boxing. I also told him about my Olympic success and told him “I was lucky”.
He stopped instantly and seemed a bit pissed off that I would say that. He then said: “There’s no such thing as luck. How are you lucky?”
I told him how I had a cracked rib at the Olympics and how I got a walkover in my first fight. I could have been drawn against the Chinese boxer, who would win gold, in my first fight, but never did.
He said: “Let me tell you something, lad. In life, you make your own luck. How did you even get to the Olympics?”
I told him I qualified by being the top eight in the world.
“Why did you go to the qualifiers?” he questioned me, so I told him it was because I was the champion of England.
“How were you the champion of England?” he quickly fired back at me.
I had no idea where he was going with this, but I said it was because I had worked my arse off.
“Exactly!” he said. “You worked your arse off. There is no such thing as luck. Anything you do in life is because of yourself. Everyone wants to win the lottery but not everyone puts it on. You’re making your own luck by putting it on.
“One bit of advice I can give you is to make sure you take every opportunity that comes your way. It may not work out but if you don’t try it, you will never get the end result – success.”
I’ve thought about his words so much over time and he is completely right. Thinking like this has really helped me and since then I’ve looked even deeper into this sort of thing and done over 100 podcasts with people who talk about this sort of thing often.
Like the little Irish guy said, “Just do it. If it helps, great. If it doesn’t, so what?”
This makes me think, if you’re ever not happy with something in your life, like the way it’s going, make a change!
Whether it be your career, partner or whatever, don’t complain about it, change it; you only live once. I was telling my 17-year-old nephew the other day that it may take a year, or even five years, to get to where you want to be and you have got to do it.
In my boxing career, I was on well over a six-figure salary and I went from that to teaching boxing for $7 an hour in LA, but this wasn’t hard for me to do because I knew I was starting at the bottom after I retired from competing. I was going to work my way to the top and now it couldn’t be going better.
One quote that really has helped change my life that I want to share with you is from a book called Who stole my cheese? – I recommend you read it.
The quote is: “What would you do if you were not afraid?”
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