Former heavyweight boxing champion Mike Tyson was known for his intensity, but one brilliant quote of his captures emotional intelligence you can use
You’d be forgiven for not immediately associating former heavyweight boxing champion Mike Tyson with emotional intelligence, especially if, like me, you remember his more ferocious years. However, he’s always had a strong sensitivity and insight under the tough veneer, as shown in documentaries like Tyson.
He also has one of the wisest quotes you’ll ever hear on how to make emotionally intelligent decisions as an entrepreneur, if not as a human being.
“Everybody has a plan until they get punched in the mouth.”
Accurate. His famous quote obviously leans on the ring analogy, but it applies well to your business strategy. Here is the two-part blow-by-blow.
Assume you will fail: Tyson is talking about the hubris behind our strategies. We’ve got millions of dollars in investment from the top VCs? That doesn’t mean you go on cruise control. (If anything, as Mark Cuban says, you’ve just made the road to success longer) We raised a ton on Kickstarter? That’s just the first step of many – and one misstep could knock us off balance.
The best defense is to assume you will get hit: Critics will drag you, ideas will fail to launch and burnout is real. Your strategy isn’t a bulletproof dome protecting you from crisis, but rather a foundation that allows you to keep it together during the inevitable challenges.
Plan to the end: Tyson is explaining that you need to have a strategy deeper than the one in your head, as you are going to get frustrated as soon as you hit a stumbling block. Have you ever prepared for a confrontation by guessing what’s going to happen? We’re usually way off, as we are skimming over many different chaotic factors like the environment and our opponent’s state of mind. Worse, by planning too much ahead of time, we are closing ourselves off to potentially better plans we can come up with based on insights we only see once we get in the proverbial ring.
The best plan is to focus on outcome. How do you want this thing to end? By focusing on the finish line and the important milestones along the way, you give yourself the latitude to get there based on the most practical moves of that dynamic moment. Think about boxing, where a quick hit could swell your eye shut, weaken your arm or literally take your breath away. The ability to pivot quickly without going over the emotional deep end is vital to your success.
There is a reason why every classic strategy book from The Art of War to The 48 Laws of Power emphasize planning to the end as well as assuming you will not always win. As Tyson knows, the ultimate personal emotional intelligence happens when you accept you don’t know what’s going to happen next.
Authored By Damon Brown
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