We just witnessed a remarkable event these last few weeks. Conor McGregor and Floyd Mayweather fought in a Boxing event that most likely, broke pay-per-view records.
Mayweather won by TKO in the 10th round, as most boxing experts predicted he would. But McGregor did remarkably well in lasting 10 rounds against one of the greatest boxers of all time.
That, however, was not his greatest achievement. His greatest achievement was landing the fight at all.
How did a man who had never fought as a Boxer before, land one of the biggest fights of all time and a $100 million pay-cheque?
The answer is insane, unparalleled self-belief. When the fight was first proposed, most laughed at the idea. McGregor has no business being in a boxing ring with an all time great, they said.
I agreed. I had no interest in watching it, despite being a Boxing fan. But something happened over the next 2 months that changed all that.
McGregor appeared to be certain of victory. He assured anyone who would listen, that Mayweather was too old and too small to last more than 2 rounds against him. He taunted Mayweather Senior with threats that he had made a big mistake in pitting his smaller and older son against a monster with a KO death touch in his left hand.
“If this was a real fight, I would kill him in seconds” he said. “If we use 8 oz gloves, he won’t last 2 rounds”, he promised.
Soon enough, people were contemplating the “what if” scenario. McGregor is a knockout artist in the MMA after all. What if he lands a lucky punch? What if Mayweather has an off day? What if McGregor KO’s one of the greatest boxers of all time in his first professional fight?
Soon enough, even professional Boxers and Mixed Martial Artists were publicly tipping McGregor to pull an upset.
It was mostly an illusion, of course. McGregor was competitive. But he was not the KO monster he made us believe he was. He landed that left, repeatedly, and Mayweather kept coming forward. His left-handed death touch was not real. At least not in 8 oz gloves, and not against a man who has been taking punches from world champions all his adult life.
But he made us believe. He made us believe because he never, for one second, doubted in his ability to shock the world. He believed, with every fibre of his being that he would KO Mayweather.
And because he believed, we believed. Had even the slightest glimpse of doubt crept into his mindset, this fight would never have happened. He made it happen.
He understood that in life, perception trumps reality. And self-belief is the ultimate way to shape perception. It was a master class in what is often called a “winning mentality”. He didn’t win the fight, but he won our hearts, and made $100 million along the way.
Well done to you, sir.