Why You Need to Almost Lose it All.

There is something frightfully motivating about putting yourself at the edge of utter destruction.

When you have invested every ounce of energy you have in your mission and the odds still look like you are going to be a loser.

When you have no money, you're out of time, and you've failed so many times that you're even beginning to doubt yourself.

You're just about to lose it all.

And despite your frayed emotions and physical pain, you might be in the best possible position of your life.

Mike Weaver took up boxing in the swamps of Vietnam in early 1970.  Not yet twenty years old, the young Marine found the training deeply inspiring and threw himself into it with a passion.  He lost his first fight as an amateur.  His opponent, Duane Bobick, was a future superstar who would fight in the 1972 Olympics.

After leaving the Marines and Vietnam, Weaver moved to California where he would train to the point of exhaustion. And it didn't go unnoticed.  He quickly became a favorite sparring partner for Mohammed Ali.  While he lacked finesse, his chiseled physique and unique stamina tested the abilities of the more talented boxers he sparred.

For the next half-decade, Weaver would languish in obscurity -- the punching bag of more capable superstars.  He would lose six of his first dozen fights.  But he showed promise.  Despite his lack of skills, he wasn't losing as quickly as the experts thought he should be.  He seemed to be sticking around longer and longer in each fight.  Sometimes just barely losing in late rounds.

March 3, 1980 Mike Weaver walked into the Stokley Athletics Center in Knoxville, Tennessee to fight against the undefeated John Tate for the WBA Heavyweight Title.  Tate was a star amateur boxer who fought in the 1976 Olympics and quickly amassed a 20-0 record as a professional.  In sensational form, he  had captured the heavyweight title from the Gerrie Coetzee in South Africa in front of almost 100,00 of Coetzee's fans.

Tate made quick work of Weaver.  He was fighting twenty-five pounds heavier than Weaver and moved effortless through the first ten rounds -- smashing Weaver with wicked jabs and a brutal right hand.  Weaver had never had to finish a fifteen round fight before.  He had always finished the fight much earlier.  And the fatigue was evident.

As the bell for Round Fifteen sounded, Tate glided around the ring minutes away from victory.  But Weaver pressed the fight.  Knowing that the only chance for  a win was a knock-out, he picked up the tempo.  The announcer, ringside, made the note "that Weaver seemd to fight harder in the fifteenth round than in the fifth."

He was desperate.  After a decade of getting his head punched in, Weaver was fighting in the title match.  And he wasn't prepared to go away quietly.  His arms felt like rubber, but he kept swinging.

With forty seconds left in the match, Weaver hit John Tate with a left hook that knocked him cold.  Against all odds, Weaver would become the heavyweight boxing champion of the world and create one of the greatest stories in boxing history.

Because he almost lost it all.

He was in the position where success was the only option.

There is a point where you've been pushed too far -- when you just get mad about the odds that are stacked against you.

  • It might seem like playing it safe is the smart way to go.
  • It might seem like holding back is the best way to have more energy for later.
  • It might seem like bold moves are you taking on too much risk.

Sometimes, the edge of destruction is the only place where you find the courage to fight for you.

If you don't almost lose it all, you won't have the courage to fight for it all.

It's too easy to just be average.