How to Turn Obstacles into Opportunities: The Story of the Great 1930s boxer Joe Louis

How to Turn Obstacles into Opportunities: The Story of the Great 1930s boxer Joe Louis

The racism of the 1930s is by no means a secret to the world. Despite the efforts of many to erase this time frame from the memory of the masses, the brute reality of it continues to stain the minds of people. It was during this unfortunate time for the colored people that Joe Louis arrived on the boxing scene of the world and went on to conquer fighter after fighter, and remained the Heavyweight Champion of the world from 1937-1949.This unbelievable success of Joe’s was due to nothing else than pure fighting acumen and the ability to turn negatives into positives.

Joe Louis was hailed as the successor of black boxing after Jack Johnson, who was equally skilled, but far more emotional. When Jack would go in the ring, he would thrash his opponent’s face into pulp and often end up knocking them out. But the constant chants of “Kill the nig**r!” from the crowds ignited such a flame of hatred in him that it consumed him up and burnt him to ashes. Jack Johnson’s rise on the boxing scene was followed by a much swifter replacement by Joe Louis.

Jack’s character gave way to an “out of control black boxer” image which soon became a generalization for every fighter of color. But Joe Louis used this to his advantage and rose to greater heights than anyone had ever imagined.

When Joe would go in the ring, he would let all those negative comments pile up inside him and fuel him with anger that he learned to channelise into the fight rather than emotional actions before and after it. Joe was calm and collected in and out of the ring as he knew which actions mattered and which didn’t.

Such attitude of his led to his becoming famous with the name “The embalmer.” His grim face was enough to make chills run down the spines of every opponent. It was much like the effect that the Undertaker’s eerie entrance has in WWE, only that Joe was actually a real fighter. (Sorry WWE fans!)

What Joe learnt in his career was an art that every person should master. He learnt that nothing is negative, and with the right mindset and hindsight, one can turn every negative into an opportunity to grow himself and his empire. Jack Johnson was a fire that consumed itself. Joe Louis, on the other hand, was a fire that learned to grow in the heat that surrounded it.

Joe had fluidity and understanding. He was an equally good fighter as Jack, but mentally he surpassed the latter. Understand that it is your point of view in life that determines your success or failure. Learn how to spin things in your favor. If there’s negative publicity against you and you choose to stay quiet, you come out looking as guilty. If you choose to address it, you look defensive. But if you focus hard enough, you can channel that negativity in your favor and get exponential power by using the energy directed at you by others.

Learn to go with the flow. One can only fight against the currents for so long until they wear him down and wash him away. The saying isn’t, “Go against the flow” but “Go with the flow” instead. Use the energy directed at you from the flow already established by the world and let it propel you farther in whichever field you’re working.

The second law of thermodynamics states, “Energy can neither be created, nor destroyed, but it can be changed from one form to another.” Before you all back-benchers dismiss this thought. I want you all to channel that statement and process it for your own lives. This statement holds true for every type of energy directed at you. If someone is giving you hate, or if the situation in life is against you, you and only you have the power to adjust your posture to go with the flow and get what you want. Because these obstacles and that hate is just simply energy. Not negative, not positive, plain energy! It is up to you to learn to process and direct it in your favour.

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