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The Knockout

When life is unfair, MAYBE you're didn't perform well enough.

by James Leroy Wilson
June 12, 2012

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The Knockout

I did not see Manny Pacquiao's welterweight title boxing match against Timothy Bradley on Saturday, June 9.

I heard it was a very controversial because Manny dominated but lost in a split decision.

And my first thought was something comedian Adam Carolla observed several months ago.

Carolla is a former boxer and coach, and he said you have to score the knockout punch. You can't leave it up to the judges.

He explains his own, non-boxing experience.

He worked on a pilot sitcom for one of the major networks. He was proud of the work. He thought it was a very good show. But even he admitted it wasn't a "great" show.

It did not get picked up. Several inferior pilots did.

Was this "unfair?" In one sense, yes. But Carolla's bitterness and consternation was muted to non-existent.

It's because he knew he didn't deliver the knockout. He didn't make a show that was so good and so funny that network executives had no choice but to pick it up.

When you don't deliver the knockout, someone less deserving may move ahead at your expense.

Sometimes it may be due to nepotism or corruption.

But in a literal boxing match, all three judges could be on the take. If you deliver the knockout, however, they can't score the fight for the opponent.

Think of it in terms of another sport.

Football referees may make a lot of blown calls that can cost one of two evenly-matched teams a game. Every fan of any team has experienced this several times. Nevertheless, the better teams do win most of the time.

And if one team is ahead by three touchdowns in the fourth quarter, no amount of bad officiating can cost that team the game. If they lose the lead and lose the game, that's their own fault. Even if there was a blown call at the final second, that doesn't make up for the fact that the dominating team blew the lead.

It's tough to accept, but a lot of the "unfairness" you may experience in life is that you're simply not as good enough, or as good as you think you are. For instance, if you lose a job or school admission because of Affirmative Action quotas, you can stew that someone less qualified got ahead of you. Maybe you scored a 93 on the test, and got passed over by someone who scored an 88. But keep in mind that the people who scored 100 aren't getting passed over by anyone.

They scored the knockout.

No one can score knockouts all the time in everything. But almost everyone is a lot better than almost everyone else at something. The challenge is to find that thing. And when you discover your calling, the challenge then becomes to never be satisfied with "outpointing" others. That's a "good enough" mentality, and eventually the "judges" in your profession won't think it's good enough.

The challenge, rather, is to become excellent.

You may not become the "best." You won't always score the knockout, and when you don't, you might be unfairly hosed by the "judges" in your profession.

But when you strive to be excellent, you may achieve far more knockouts along the way, more than you ever anticipated.

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This column appears every Tuesday only in The Partial Observer.


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