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Milk Money: Lessons from the Cinderella Man

Updated: Jan 25

Russell Crow in Cinderella Man

“Milk”. That's what James Braddock, a supposedly “washed-up” boxer during the great depression, said was his reason for fighting Max Baer. Baer was the heavy weight champion renowned for having killed two men in the ring. What really fueled Braddock?

It was clear that Baer was the bigger, stronger, more accomplished boxer with a career record of 72 wins (52 KOs) and 12 losses compared to Braddock’s 47 wins (27 Kos) and 24 losses.

A 6' 4" mountain of muscle and movie-star handsome, Baer had one of the hardest punches in heavyweight history. Baer is rated 22 on The Ring magazine's list of 100 greatest punchers of all time. Yet, as much as Baer loved to fight, he loved the night-life more. He was famous for dancing and drinking the night away with a host of beautiful women.

Braddock was fueled by something else. Beyond competition, fame or status, he was instead driven by the humiliation of having to accept government relief money to feed his family during the Great Depression. A humiliation that led to a fierce determination to provide (buy milk) for himself and his family. The fight represented the opportunity to earn that Milk Money.

I think it's fair to say that both men had similar visions for themselves. The vision of being a champion. The dream of being the best and succeeding in their chosen vocation. Yet, in this instance, the one with lesser skill, power, experience and status emerged the champion. Was it luck? Lack of preparation? Would the result be the same if it were repeated?

We like to view success as an event, yet, as in this case, success was the result of numerous factors, none of which should be ignored. Take lessons from the Cinderella Man story and apply them to yourself and your business to reach your vision of success.

Clearly define your Vision

“Vision is a clear mental picture of what could be, fueled by the conviction that it should be” Visioneering, by Andy Stanley

Find your Passion: Suffer for What You Love

“The true soldier fights not because he hates what is in front of him, but because he loves what is behind him.” G.K. Chesterton


“The hours you spend preparing make for more positive, more uplifting, more successful hours in the time when it counts. Jungle of Life

Give me six hours to chop down a tree and I will spend the first four sharpening the axe.” Abraham Lincoln

Be Gritty

“Grit is a construct that is said to summon both passion and perseverance in service of a long-term goal.” Psychology Today

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