Tyson Fury’s spectacular victory against Deontay Wilder last month captured the world’s attention. Not only because of the long-standing rivalry between the two heavyweight boxers but also because of the incredible backstory of resilience that had brought Fury to the fight.
From defeat and condemnation to glory
Only a year ago, Fury had been in the grips of drug addiction, alcoholism and clinical depression. In 2016, Fury was reported has having “seemingly self-engineered one of the greatest collapses in modern sports history”.
To come back from this low is remarkable itself, to come back in such spectacular fashion is inspirational. So, what lessons can we take from this story of sportsmanship and grit as we look to build our own businesses and achieve success?
Persistence in business
The story of overcoming the odds and fighting back to achieve success is a universal one and the lessons contained within this story are applicable not just in sporting world but also in the world of business. When starting out on a new business venture, people might dream about overnight successes, but the reality for most is more a story of persistence against the odds.
It is as we overcome the obstacles in front of us that we learn and grow as professionals and individuals. Research has revealed in fact that, when it comes to hiring, employers value resilience as a characteristic, and the lessons which resilience will have taught a candidate. 57% of employers surveyed believed that resilience was an essential skill they look for in candidates, while 71% viewed adaptability (a key element of resilience) as an essential skill.
One thing that makes Tyson Fury stand out is the candour with which he has discussed the battles he has fought against his demons to come back from the lows. As individuals and business too, there is value in being open about the struggles you’ve had and the lessons you’ve learnt.
Why do we celebrate persistence?
Perhaps it is Fury’s attitude as much as his sporting prowess that impressed us. When someone succeeds after a series of setbacks, it resonates with our own life experiences. We all know instinctively that, no matter how much success an individual might project, behind it will most likely be a story of struggle and hard work. This is why we will naturally feel a greater affiliation with those who have persisted and are honest about it, than those who portray themselves as arrogant and above the struggle.
One of the most important factors in overcoming past mistakes and forging impressive comebacks is learning value of negative experiences. There are countless examples of this in action, and these are a great thing to focus on when faced with a challenge.
Following some serious business missteps, and even bankruptcy filings, business icon Richard Branson is quoted as saying: “Never give up, even if it sounds slightly corny. Fight, fight, fight to survive.” While fighting in business is very different from fighting in the boxing ring, the same mental resilience is required.
The takeaway from Tyson Fury’s story
History is packed with illustrations of why you should try again, ‘if at first, you don’t succeed’. These, along with Fury’s glorious comeback, tell us that it is possible to achieve greatness if you use your persistence, resistance and self-belief to change your fortunes and the opinions of others.