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Lessons From a Boxer: Fighting for what matters.

By Jeff Taylor, MAC, LPC

Quick question.

What are you grateful for?

Family?  Friends?   Kids?   God?

Next question.

How often do you truly think about those things?    

Here is my definition of gratitude: Developing a mindset of reflection upon those things that truly matter and give life meaning.   Here is a simple starting point for what truly matters.    Feel free to write it down so you don’t forget:


Many people know that my favorite movie is “Cinderella Man”. It is the story of James Braddock, a boxer in the 1930’s, who had his life completely fall apart in the context of the Great Depression.    In one of the greatest comebacks in boxing history, he fought his way back to earn a shot at the title with the heavyweight champion, Max Baer.    Many sports journalists were stunned by his comeback. In the press conference before the boxing match he was asked a simple question:

“What are you fighting for?”

His answer was given with a quiet yet profound determination.


When we focus each day on things that matter it contributes to a deep sense of meaning and purpose. If you desire to be someone that people truly want to spend time with and even more importantly, be like, then cultivating appreciation is the right path. Gratitude has been shown to lessen depression, lower blood pressure and even lengthen life. Being grateful actually increases the level of dopamine in the brain that produces pleasure. So, if you want to feel good BE grateful.   

Skills to practice to cultivate gratitude: