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Back at the beginning of the 1960s, a little-known heavyweight boxer called Cassius Clay smashed his way onto the scene. He was not just an incredible fighter, he also had an uncanny ability to accurately predict the round in which he would end his fights. Of his first 21 bouts, he managed to accurately predict the correct round a staggering 17 times… but how on earth did he do it?

Roll on a few years and by 1965 this fighter was not just the talk of the town, he was the talk of the world. Everything had changed; his popularity, his status and even his name. Muhammad Ali, as he was now known, also decided to stop making these astonishing predictions.

Journalists and television presenters alike regularly brought up the subject, but he always managed to cunningly avoid giving a straight answer and revealing his secret. This continued until just before he sadly passed away.

As legend has it, an old friend finally managed to get Ali to spill the beans. Eloquently, he explained that everyone assumed he was purely focusing on that one big punch to knock his opponent down, when in fact he was actually focusing on everything that led up to that decisive blow. He used to visualise every aspect of his training camp; his routines, what he would eat, how he would sleep, how he would conduct himself at the press conference, his final preparations on the day of the fight, how he would step into the ring, the face-off with his opponent and finally his strategy for each round. Nothing was left to chance.

Goals are vitally important to live your dreams, inside and outside of work. In the case of Ali, it was to knockout his opponent in a designated round. For you, it could be to earn a promotion, to win that big deal, to move into your dream home or emigrate to another country. Without a well thought-out plan mapping out how you are going to achieve your goal, you’re not giving yourself a fighting chance. Like Ali, spend your time dividing up your goal into a series of smaller, more manageable steps. This will make big goals feel more achievable, while also providing essential direction to keep you on track.

Think like a prize fighter not a prize…

By Chris Tong

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