Sunday, July 28, 2013

When to Throw in the Towel

Arakawa takes a shot from Figueroa last night. (Source:
 So I have to admit: I love boxing. Boxers endure intense training to prepare for a fight, and in the ring, they battle not only their opponents, but also fear and exhaustion. But as much as I enjoy the sweet science, even I was a little uncomfortable watching last night's fight between Nihito Arakawa of Japan and Omar Figueroa of Texas. At first, Figueroa started bleeding from above his nose -- the result of an accidental headbutt. Then, Arakawa's eyes began to swell to Rocky-like proportions -- as he took an unbelievable number of power shots from the hard-punching Texan. The fight lasted the full 12 rounds, but many spectators on Twitter were thinking Arakawa's corner should have thrown in the towel. After all, it's those kinds of beatings that have been known to lead to long-term brain damage, and sometimes death. I have to agree with them. There was no point to fighting on once he'd lost the fight. People had gotten their money's worth, and he'd shown his courage.

History is replete with examples of times when armies should have retreated and regrouped. Sometimes in life, it's important to know when to stop what you're doing and live to fight another day. In business, they call this "pivoting." In the middle of team sports, they call it a "timeout." And if you're afraid that losing shows a lack of will, remember: no one ever becomes a success without learning how to fail.

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