Rocky Balboa had given up on his potential and got into a routine where he was resigned to just getting by. But, when opportunity knocked on his door, he was challenged to believe in himself once again.
The story of Rocky Balboa shows the winding path to success and how Rocky had to become stronger, not just physically, but in his self-image, in order to become a winner.
1 – WE SAY WHAT WE WANT, THEN MAKE EXCUSES FOR WHY WE DON’T GET IT.
Some people had parents who encouraged them and told them they could do anything and become anything, they wanted. Most don’t. For the rest of us, we often let the negative voices of parents – and others who have no belief in us – define who we are. We believe their limited view of us. We don’t bother trying to be better. Or we try, fail, make excuses, and give up.
On their first date, Adrian asked Rocky why he became a fighter. Rocky answered that his father told him he didn’t have much of a brain, so he’d better learn to use his body – so he became a fighter.
But, Rocky had his reason ready to tell Adrian, his excuse for why he hadn’t stuck with being not just a fighter but a winner. “Nobody wants to fight a South Paw,” Rocky explained. Obviously, that wasn’t true. Apollo Creed said he would fight Rocky!
– What do you want?
– If you haven’t achieved your dream yet, what reasons have you given yourself?
2 – SEE – AND BELIEVE – IN YOUR OPPORTUNITIES?
There are many ways to fulfill your potential, many paths you can seek. Sometimes opportunities knock, they present themselves out of the clear blue sky. But, we have to1) see them, 2) say “Yes!,” and 3) do what it takes to capitalize on the chances we are presented with.
There are lots of ways to “make a living,” but that’s different than “making a life.”
Sometimes we can see our opportunities by process of elimination.
Rocky said he couldn’t sing and he couldn’t dance, so he figured he’d become a fighter. Mickey Goldmill told Rocky that, ten years previous, Rocky showed that he had what it takes, but Rocky gave it up to become a leg breaking enforcer for a loan shark. “It’s a living,” Rocky explained.
Rocky didn’t believe he was worthy of big success. No one had ever shown any belief in him. He asked Mickey why he didn’t help him with his boxing years ago. Mickey said, “You never asked me!” Rocky replied, “Yes I did, but you didn’t hear me!”
– What did you need in order to achieve your dream?
– If you didn’t go for your full potential, what did you do instead?
3 – IT’S TRUE: “IF IT’S TO BE, IT IS UP TO ME!”
We are given glimpses of our potential and sometimes opportunity does knock. With advances in technology and the changing cultural landscape, there are maybe more opportunities no than at any other time in history. Want to write? You don’t have to wait for an agent or a publisher. Want to make movies? The 2015 winner of the Sundance Film Festival was filmed on an I-Phone! Want a Harvard education? Classes are available for free on the internet.
Apollo Creed’s opponent backed out of a scheduled with just weeks before the fight. No one else was available. Apollo gets a brainstorm, “Without a ranked contender, what the public will want is a novelty. This is the land of opportunity, right? . . “There’s nothing people would like better than seeing Apollo Creed give a Philadelphia underdog a shot at the greatest title in the world. That’s the way it’s gonna be.”
– What opportunities have you sensed or flat out been presented with?
– What did you do next?
– What happened?
4 – GIVE YOURSELF – AND OTHERS – PROOF THAT YOU’VE GOT WHAT IT TAKES
Prove the naysayers wrong. Even if you are one of the voices speaking failure over you, you can change that tune at any time.
What kind of proof must you gather? Set your vision, decide to accomplish it, make clear plans, gather the resources you need, and get to work, work, work and then work some more.
Pay the price. Do whatever it takes, and then some. Get up early, stay up late, working toward your dream.
Rocky had no budget for training. He didn’t eat fancy foods suggested by a nutritionist. Instead, he drank a glass full of raw eggs as his “breakfast of champions.”
He was up early: running, working out at the gym, and even using hanging meat as punching bags. His regemin was Spartan and hard work.
5 – MAKE THE MOST OF YOUR SECOND CHANCE
Maybe lightning only strikes once, but opportunity doesn’t just knock once. We get more than one chance to shine.
There are many stories of late-in-life, second-chance successes. Here are a few:
– Harland Sanders – at 65, he took his recipe on the road and began the Kentucky Fried Chicken story.
– Ray Croc was over 50 when he bought his first McDonalds and began building it into the worldwide conglomerate it is today.
– Julia Child made her television debut in The French Chef at age 51.
– Grandma Moses began taking her art career seriously at the age of 78.
Mickey always felt Rocky’s potential, but Mickey didn’t believe that Rocky would dedicate himself and do what it takes. Ten years ago, when Rocky wanted Mickey’s help, Mickey was not there for him. So, with Apollo’s invitation to fight, Mickey and Rocky both had second chances: Rocky to become Heavy Weight Champion of the World and Mickey (at 76) to become Rocky’s trainer.
Rocky had to work on his physical training and on himself. As he said, “I get an offer to fight. My legs don’t work, nothin’s working. Yeah, I’ll fight him; I’ll get my face kicked in.” The way through that lack of ability and confidence is training. It is a case of “Do the thing you fear, and the death of fear is certain.”
– With training and hard work, what can you accomplish?
– How can you be like Rocky and make it happen without a budget?
– What training, support, and encouragement do you need?