Archive for September 2013

Don’t Knock Yourself Out

September 9, 2013

Don’t Knock Yourself Out

By Steven J. Callis


Nationally syndicated newspaper columnist L.M. Boyd once wrote about a boxing match back in the early 1930s, when C.D. “Bigboy” Blalock of Louisiana State University–a six-foot-six-inch giant of a boxer–was taking on a stocky fellow from Mississippi State.

Boyd wrote, “In the second round, Bigboy let loose a roundhouse.  The Mississippi man stepped in, and his head caught Bigboy’s arm inside the elbow. With the opponent’s head acting as a lever, Bigboy’s arm whipped around in almost full circle, connecting with haymaker force on Bigboy’s own chin. He staggered, grabbed the rope, walked almost all the way around the ring, and then fell flat for the count–the only prizefighter who ever knocked himself out with a right to his own jaw.”

I could not help but laugh the first time I read this story.  However, it quickly brought to mind the Louis Binstock quote, “We are our own worst enemy as we foolishly build stumbling blocks on the path that leads to success and happiness.”

Ultimately, each one of us is responsible for our own choices and actions.  We can attempt to hide behind our adversarial circumstances, but in reality these are mere excuses to rationalize our vulnerabilities and poor judgments.  There are plenty of examples where right choices have overcome adversity, rather than being victimized by it.

Ask a football coach what his team does during halftime at a game, and his simple answer is really quite profound: we strategize about how to overcome the things that were working against us in the first half, and about what to do with the unexpected surprises brought about by our opponents.

A difficult childhood, alcoholic parents, health issues, financial setbacks, and losses in life certainly present their challenges, but they do not justify selfish avengement or retaliation at the expense of others; poor life choices are not inevitable consequences of adversity.

One writer of deep wisdom offers this 3-fold philosophy about living a good life: act justly, love mercy, and walk humbly.  The reference, however, is not to occasional moments or days of such a life; rather, a consistent, persistent lifestyle.  This advice is something every person can choose to follow; things we can do despite our circumstances or adversity.  It simply is a matter of choice and will.

By the way, the aforementioned writer is the prophet Micah. In its context, the prophet has said that a person can do many good things, but that the surest way to make a difference in one’s world is to persistently act justly, love mercy, and walk humbly [with the Lord].

Don’t beat yourself up over what life has dealt you.  Don’t let your adversity victimize you.  Choose instead to be an overcomer.