How your inner-critic makes you a rope-a-dope

Woman looks in mirror

We drink the poison our inner-critic pours for us.

The following anecdote about this boxing match, from which I refer to in this post, was from a brilliantly-written/voice-recorded post by one of my favourite pod-casters Terry O’Reilly.

Our inner-critic can be very manipulative. It can make us fall for what it says to us especially if it is allowed to do endlessly. The story I’m referring to in this post is, in an oblique way, illustrative of what happens inside our heads when certain suggestions get the best of us.

On October 30, 1974 the famous boxing match known as the “Rumble in the Jungle” in what was then Zaire Africa took place. It had been called “arguably the greatest sporting event of the 20th century“. The two fighters were the undefeated heavyweight champion of the world
George Foreman against challenger Muhammad Ali, a former heavyweight champion.

At the time Ali was the long-shot. A seasoned boxer for sure but already at 32 years old this title fight was not going to be easy on him. Foreman, a younger and way more muscular fighter, was just 25. He was already boxing legend. This was going to be a professional boxing bonanza for the winner. Both boxers knew it was a make-or-break bout.

In Ali’s dressing room prior to the fight all were unusually quiet. They knew about the punishing force from an opponent like Foreman. His powerful haymakers could be more than damaging to a guy like Ali who had hopes of becoming a world champion once more.

They actually feared for Ali’s life.[convertkit]

But as the fight wore on something changed. By the second round of the bout Ali had come up with a secret plan for Foreman. He realized early on that he could not go toe-to-toe with Foreman’s powerful blows. If he was to get him knocked out he would have to get really creative. And quickly.

So he changes his tactics and goes with something that would later be famously known as the “rope-a-dope”.

Staying close to the ropes and protecting himself by blocking Foreman’s punches all Ali had to do was survive long enough to tire Foreman out. He did this round after round letting Foreman do all the punching onto Ali’s body. It was almost like he was sparring with him. But he kept it up and the tactic worked like magic.

Ali Applies The Secret Sauce

Meanwhile people close to ringside noticed something. Ali was whispering into foreman’s ear. No one knew it until later what he was saying. It turns out that he was taunting Foreman over and over and over by asking him why was he always using his right. And then adding that he must not have much of a left.

After doing this for several rounds the now enraged Foreman finally bit at the challenge and changed hands from his right to his left. This bought Ali some time to get the feeling
back in his left arm as it was numbed-out from Foreman’s powerful right blows. Then, in the 8th round Ali saw a way opening up.

As the exhausted Foreman tried to pin Ali against the ropes Ali came back with a combination that forced Foreman’s head up in position for a right punch to the face.

Foreman stumbled and then fell to the canvas. The referee counted and then stopped the fight as Foreman was rising. But it was done.

Ali had accomplished what almost no one expected to see. He had beaten the fearsome George Foreman in an 8th round knockout. But he did it, not only with his fists, but with a subtle whispered suggestion.

How Your Inner-Critic Does It

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You may not have noticed, but this is the kind of quiet coaxing that something in your head brain, your inner-critic, is constantly whispering into your own inner-ear.

You might of heard of, and eventually believed in, things like this:

  • “What are you doing? You always keep messing things up.”
  • “You can’t handle this stuff. Who do you think you are?”
  • “You’re not good enough for this. Get outta here!”
  • “Are you crazy? What’s wrong with you? Quit now while you still can.”
  • “You’re way too old (too young) to be any good at this.”

And on and on it goes. It want’s to make us all into rope-a-dopes.

I’ve heard it said that the best way to clear muddy water is to just leave it alone. But where else can you go that’s outside your own head?

Science has the right answer. Sort of.

They tell us that we have, not just one, but a second brain and it’s in our gut. That’s about as far from the noisy head as it gets without actually leaving the body.

I love science but so far no scientist I’m aware of has stated this yet. I’ve been pointing it out for years: the head brain is a thinking brain but the gut brain is a feeling brain. We need both because humans do two basic things all day every day.

We think things and we feel things.

One dedicated brain for each of these two essential tasks. What a great thing.

It’s fantastically elegant in both design and function. But they must be properly optimized in harmony so we can operate in the world with more happiness and fulfillment and less stress. I mean that, in most cases, a person won’t even know that this extra brain exists so how can you make better use of something if you’re not aware it exists?

But that doesn’t belie the fact that we still need to fix our noisy head brain if we’re to escape becoming a rope-a-dope to our inner-critic. The big news is that it can be done by applying the calming power of our second brain to our noisy head.

And it’s quite doable in as little as one day if you have the right tool for the job.

I’ve spent decades building it, testing it, and then understanding what it means for your future.

Extend your hand and learn more about it here.

More power to you.


Quotius #5

Each week I intend to dispatch my pent-up creativity by creating a new version of something I call a “quotius”. (Learn about the genesis of it here.)

This is not your normal run-of-mill Quotius posting like I usually do.

Okay, it is a quote, well, sort of in a way at least it is. I mean, I’m quoting a collective group of people here but no one person in particular so there will be no attribution attached.
This is not only ground-breakingly different for me but I saved printer ink too because I just did it by hand with a marker.

The group I’m referring to, if you can believe it, is the population of biology researchers laboring away at labs all over the country.

I’m using a short list. I’ve stripped out everything extraneous so that all I’m left on it is six basic items. The professionals I’m quoting probably wouldn’t have done that themselves. They like long reports and white papers. They need those to justify their research funding.

The list includes the six main elements that make up the bulk of all living matter on planet earth: Carbon, Hydrogen, Nitrogen, Oxygen, Sulfur and Phosphorus.

In the video I’m keeping with my usual theme of showing my inherent lack of respect for a circular-shaped thinking pattern. As usual I make sure it meets with a quick if not painless end.

In the circular thinking model I show what the problem is. You can only read half of the items on the list. The other three appear upside down on the inside of the band. They are separated and alone.

With only three items instead of the required six you can’t end up with a living organism. If you work in a lab and these three are all you have you may have something organic but it’s most likely not living or breathing nor will if fetch a stick.

Nevertheless science has a name for it… It’s known as “dead”.

The same can be said of the pattern of circular thinking itself. All that one can do when you’re caught up within it is stay trapped in an endless spiral going further down the road of frustration and time loss.

So who am I to make such critical observations?

After all the closest I ever got to being a scientist was watching Star Trek on television after school more than forty years ago. But for the last two decades I’ve closely watched the way circular thinking has taken hold in so many people’s lives. Promoted by the rush and demands of life these days it has stolen more of its portion of our joy and happiness. If they would just slow down enough they would appreciate the fact that they can see their own potential and build a deep self-belief on that hard-evidence-based vision. All it takes is a simple little brain tweak and the direction we all desperately need can begin to come into focus.

My point, if I may say so myself, is visually well made. Thinking like this is as dead as the organic waste that only three basic elements can make. It’s thinking that needs to be changed.

In this video I reconstruct this old model by it taking apart and by giving one end a little tweak by twisting one end of it 180 degrees (like the coil in a DNA) before joining it with the other end.

We now see something new.

It’s a model of a mobius strip of course but, at the same time, it’s also a 3D illustration of a reciprocal system of thinking. Now in this form we can easily read all six elements one–by-one because this new strip only has one side and one edge. With this complete list of six items we have just about everything that’s needed to define every living organism in the physical world.

We also have a very elegant metaphor for the shape that this new thinking pattern takes on. I have been helping people for a long time to make this type of change and it doesn’t take long to do. One day at the most. The rewards are a greater self-confidence, less stress, and a much clearer pathway to get out from under the weight of the world.

And it’s all because of a well placed little twist and a little tweak.

More power to you.
David is the developer of the H.E.R.O. eMachine
PS: Have you noticed that a lot of personal development methods no longer pack the punch they once did? Could be the times. I went ahead and invented this simple little brain tweak that makes a huge difference in leveraging your efforts for creating a better version of yourself. Want more? Check out my FREE webinar here.