The Epic of Manny Pacquiao:

A self-made man, Manny Paquiao currently holds 8 world titles in boxing. Those 8 titles are in 7 different divisions. He has won championships from 105lbs-148lbs, a feat no other boxer has ever accomplished, ever. Many analysts consider him the greatest fighter ever. He is ambidextrous. He hits as hard with his left as he does with his right. Manny fights without relent. We may never see a more severe or forceful fighter in the ring again. He is a once-in-a-lifetime phenomenon. Yet, none of that is what makes his story so extraordinary. What makes Manny’s story so amazing is how it began. You see, Manny lifted himself out of abject poverty and homelessness to become, perhaps, the greatest fighter ever.

Manny’s life began in the slums of General Santos City in the Philippines. Born to a single mother with five other brothers and sisters, his childhood was one of extreme poverty. His mother didn’t work and had no means of supporting the family. As a child Manny often skipped school so that he could help his mother sell cigarettes, in hopes of buying the family food.

Though poverty was all he had ever known, Manny never grew accustomed to it. He dreamed of a better life – an impossible life. It was his dream to become the greatest fighter in the history of boxing. From a young age he began to slip away during the day to train at a local spot (it could hardly be called a gym). He hid his sporadic training from his mother because she was a deeply religious woman who frowned upon the sport.

Eventually, when his family could no longer afford to feed him, he ran away to the big city of Manila. He was homeless. Manny often slept on the streets and without food. He would take jobs wherever he could. He worked construction and sometimes he was able to do janitorial work at the gym where he trained. Nothing got in his way. Manny’s deep and abiding desire to become the worlds best fighter was unshakable.

We all have things we want in life. All of us have an idea of who we want to become, or what we would like to achieve. The difference between our failures and his success, is that Manny, even against all odds, never allowed anything to stand in his way. Not hunger, nor homelessness could sway him from his dreams. Failure is a result of comprimise and resignation. For Manny there was no comprimise, and no surrender. On some deep, primitive level Manny understood that success and sacrifice are inextricably bound.

By now I have seen Manny’s approach to the ring many times. It is a spectacle. He wears biggest, realest, ear-to-ear smile you have ever seen in your life, until he climbs into the ring. He wears the smile of a man who is in love with the life he has constructed from nothing. His is the look of a man living his own dream just the way he had imagined all those years on the streets. If you don’t believe me, find some film of him. Watch the way he floats to the ring, and notice how light he is as he moves through space. It is truly an education about life.

We all make our own way in this life. The shape and quality of our life is directly proportional to the effort we put forth durring its course. Our lives are only as good as our imagination. Life is about finding who and what we wish to become, and not letting anything–ANYTHING–stand in the way. As far as we know, we pass this way but once. There are no take-backs, or do-overs. Manny has done it all his way. I think it was probably his dreams and desires that kept him warm on those cold hard nights. He became the greatest fighter of all time.

Life is about not about where we start. Its about the process of becoming who and what we want.

Thanks Manny.

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