Passing in the Fields
Creative Commons License photo credit: Ludo*
There are many reasons why I love boxing. I’m a highly competitive person. Knowing this I use competition to drive me to achieve that which I desire. To be good at boxing demands a lot of hard work. It may surprise you to know that it also requires a great deal of intelligence.

To put in all those hours of blood, sweat, tears and pain also takes great self-discipline. To get into a ring and face a skilled opponent alone takes great courage. In many respects boxing is so much more then a sport. For all of boxing is a lesson in overcoming adversity. This is a lesson that extends well beyond the sport itself.

There is a chance you personally might think boxing is a brutal and barbaric spectacle. It’s okay if you do. I’m not really talking about boxing anyway. I’m talking about your life. You see it is our failures that teach us the most, in boxing and in life. Think of the lion in the photo above. Before she became a ferocious and successful hunter she would have failed to make a kill many times.

“If you want to improve, be content to be thought foolish and stupid.”

– Epictetus

My Experience with Failure
In my experience, and in the experience of others such as Steve Pavlina, our lowest lows hold the potential to be the impetus that ultimately produces our highest highs. Looking back on my short life so far I can clearly see how many of the worst things that have happened to me eventually transformed into the very best things that have happened to me.

When I was twenty I had severe chronic fatigue. At one point I was sleeping up to seventeen hours a day and was useless for the remaining seven. I rarely emerged from my room, lost over 30kg in a few short months and basically dropped out of university. I’m originally from a country town and because of my illness I lost the job in a big city firm that I had worked so hard to get. Before I become sick they had loved me. For the last two years of high school I took three additional classes that were outside of normal school hours to land that job.

After I had open-heart surgery when I was seven years old I told my parents I wanted to be an accountant. I wanted to be on top of the corporate world. I wanted to run a multinational organisation. I was well on the path when I was just nineteen. Then at twenty came chronic fatigue and my life ended.

The Blessings of Failure
It took well over two years to claw my way back out of that hole. I finally became well again after too many relapses to count and my poor mother nearly having a mental breakdown. As part of the process of getting better I started martial arts. Through martial arts I met many new people that I wouldn’t have otherwise and travelled to Hong Kong where I trained and demonstrated the staff in front of thousands of people and many distinguished martial arts masters.

Later I spent a month travelling all over China with a good friend and training brother who I met through martial arts. However, most importantly my own health has become the single highest priority in my life. As a result of that I’ve come to learn many things about these bodies we live in and what it takes for them to be healthy in this rapidly changing modern world.

“Either you’ll succeed, or you’ll learn from your failures. If you fail a great deal it just means you have more to learn before you’re ready to succeed.”

– Steve Pavlina

My blog here at Balanced Existence and this very article that you are reading right now is directly the result of the most difficult most painful low of my life. The knowledge I share here at Balanced Existence regarding health, fitness, diet and how to live a meaningful life all grew out of what at the time felt like horrendous failure. If you have been cursed with debilitating fatigue you know what a deep dark and slippery hell that is. It took enormous willpower to overcome and now today I enjoy the benefits of having forged my will in the fire of adversity.

What doesn’t kill us certainly can make us stronger if we seize the opportunity to learn from it and grow. I can clearly see both the positives and the negatives that came out of my chronic fatigue experience. At the time when it felt all negative. Today I feel there are only positives. Now also as a direct result I’m empowered to help those who need it. That is why I started Balanced Existence.

The only true failure is to fail to learn from failure.

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