As I watched another one-sided bout for the one they call “Money”, I felt inspired as the match concluded. As my norm, since he continues to win, I leave Floyd Mayweather’s bouts with positive self talk in my head, comprehending that if one disciplines themselves, uses “hard work and dedication,” I and others can continue to experience life success.
As a psychiatrist by day, and fight fan by night, I utilize a lot of motivational tactics to support the growth of the usage of positive language and thought content to undo self-loathing and minimize the risk for depression and anxiety; these are tools Mr. Mayweather the fighter uses well.
As Mr. Mayweather spoke to the press the evening of his last fight, after his victory over Manny Pacquiao, I could not help but wonder if something different was happening in his mind. Yes, he has worked many years to perfect his boxing skills to assure greatness, but upon retirement, it is other skills, other tools which will be needed to assure continued success, no longer as a boxer, but as a man. Folks question his ability to handle conflict interpersonally, his ability to have empathy for others, and his lack of humility, so I am curious, I admit, to see how his arc plays out after he hangs up the gloves.
In my practice, I have worked with all realms of clientele, from CEOs to retired professional athletes. Regardless of status, Father Time begins to take away the big lights, the interviews, and the crowds of folks calling your name as a younger, hungrier generation takes the lens. We all must learn to adapt.
For this week, and many weeks and likely years still to come we will continue to admire Mayweather the fighter and follow his moves as he navigates his next fight and prepares for life after boxing. I thought for the briefest moment I appreciated at the press conference the nuances needed to assure emotional stability after boxing. He was diplomatic, respectful, and engaging with the media. Is it all a persona for the camera? Is “Money” a character as well? Yes, he still found a way to perseverate over the size of his check. Was this a showing of pending insecurity? Only Mr. Mayweather knows this truth.
I can only add that regardless of wealth accumulated, fame experienced, and all those cars and gadgets purchased, all of which on the surface make us feel better about ourselves, in the real adult world, it’s the simpler, timeless “prizes” which lead to a happy and successful life: healthy relationships, the ability to love ourselves when the camera is not rolling, and giving back to the community.
I hope Mr. Mayweather is getting ready for the greatest and most difficult fight of his life, the time when the in-the-ring fights are over, and he has ample free time on his hands, and fewer people caring about his every move. He may well find that a much harder foe to grapple with than the ones he bettered to reach 48-0.
Dr. Johnny Lops, a psychiatrist living in Brooklyn, NY, sees children and adults in his practice. His new book, Reinvent Yourself: Essential Tools from a Brooklyn Psychiatrist Who Has Seen It All, is now available online at Amazon and Barnes and Nobles.