Ed Latimore delivers hard.
Since Part One of our interview in early April this champion fighter has notched up another superb victory in the merciless arena of professional boxing.
On April 23, 2016 he faced Hassan Lee in the ring and achieved a TKO victory, bringing his status as an undefeated heavyweight one rung higher on the ladder of ferocious competence.
Read on to see how Ed utilizes Machiavellian skill and psychopathic power in Part Two of this compelling interview at Dark Triad Man.
Machiavellian and political skill are necessary for rising careers.
How do you assess caution versus boldness when making career decisions?
Well I ALWAYS do the boldest move. Or to put it more practically, my first thought is to do the thing with the highest reward regardless of the potential risk. So if left to my own devices, I’d always pursue the toughest fight that has the highest upside. This is where having a smart group of people around you comes into play. My manager and my coach look at the best move for me and strongly suggest a course of action. Because I trust their judgement, I listen to them 99% percent of the time. This is one of the reasons I have been successful so far and I believe I will continue to have success – I have an incredibly competent group that advises me on the best overall decision for my career.
But as for the main question, I simply don’t have a great ability to weigh caution and boldness. This is a strength and a weakness. Often times it makes me a great competitor but other times it makes me overextend myself. I am trying to get better, but not necessarily by exercising more caution. Rather, since I know that I have this tendency I simply try to be ready for whatever challenges it will (inevitably) get me into.
What signs do you look for that show you a proclaimed ally or promoter is, in fact, a threat?
Learning to read true emotional intent is so valuable. While it’s often impossible to know the exact details of when a person isn’t loyal or is deceiving you, you can – with much greater certainty – tell when it’s happening in general. This skill of reading people is valuable because the single biggest way to tell who is really on your side is to observe their reaction when something good happens to you. You want to see who is genuinely happy for you and who is resentful that you manage to come out successful again.
Waiting until you fail is useless. Not only is it too late, but people are a lot less inclined to conceal their true intentions when they think you’ve fallen (and are thus no longer a threat or no longer a source of benefits). Therefore, learn to recognize false enthusiasm. It will save you a tremendous amount of time and resources, and it will allow you to cultivate members of your team that truly have your back.
What has the stark, pitiless experience of repeated, hard-landed punches taught you about reality v. illusion?
Illusions alone aren’t really dangerous. What’s dangerous is making decisions based on illusions. Or put another way, the attitudes that cause you the most harm are the ones that you believe to be true but aren’t. Very few people intentionally buy into a false frame of reality and are fully aware it’s false. These people are acting based on what they believe is true. Why they think it’s true is a different topic, but it’s important to remember that people genuinely believe their view of reality is correct and thus they believe (even when the evidence can be quite contrary) that they are making the best decisions.
So in boxing I don’t get to cultivate illusions. This is because boxing is a very true activity. I can say whatever I want, but my performance immediately reveals my ability and level of training. This is something I cherish about the sport. I didn’t come into the sport needing that taught to me. I got that from my rough upbringing. But by always basing my training on the reality of my ability, I have improved. This is valuable in life as well. Doing what needs to be done not what you want to be done.
I have simply learned uncompromising honesty with myself is the only way to improve. By applying this anywhere in my life I wish to improve, I always see desirable results.
The road to a heavyweight champion is a hard one, perhaps one of the hardest. How has it taught you to address and potentially exploit weaknesses of character?
In boxing, weakness of character is remarkably easy to spot and exploit. I can tell how a guy feels by how he stares me down when we meet in the ring. It’s not always in the eye contact, though most of it is. During the staredown I’m looking for any indication that he doesn’t really want to fight. Remember, by the time we make it to the stare down, any trash talk and preparation is out the window and it’s just the ref going over the final instructions. There is no bravado for him to hide behind. Either he is ready to fight or he isn’t, and whether he is more skilled than me is irrelevant. What IS important is how he feels about the fight. Is he ready to do battle? Is he unsure? Do I intimidate him? These are the weaknesses.
How they reveal themselves is also interesting. Some guys look at you, then their eyes dart down and away. Very submissive and very subconscious. But that’s a tell. Some guys zone out and try to look past you. If you aren’t perceptive it looks like they’re making contact, but it’s a ruse. Their eyes look wide and soft so you know they aren’t really fixated.
The opponent reveals that he is game when he stares directly into you. There is no other way to describe it. It’s a focused and intense look that forces the other man either meet your eyes ready to do battle or give some sign of apprehension. He is not looking past or away, but rather at me and right into me. Then I know this is a man ready to fight. You would be surprised how rare this is. A true taste for violence is very rare, even in boxing. I’ve had to learn how to enjoy hurting people, so my look is genuine.
The third trait of the Dark Triad Man is psychopathy.
You’ve written about your eerily detached calm in the ring. As you get closer to the moment of public combat, how does that calm generate? Does it result from defusing, diffusing, or discarding fear and anxiety? Is it an embrace of calm, a forward entry into the state? A combination? Or something else?
My calm comes from faith in my preparation. I’ve yet to enter a fight as less than the best I could possibly be, but a lot of it stems from there. My detachment arises from a very odd way I view fighting. In the weirdest way, I’m not really attached to the outcome of the fight. I am way more concerned with executing properly and enjoying myself in the heat of battle. I try to make the ring and all the violence a familiar place. When you go to your familiar places, are you nervous? Neither am I.
Also, I remember something I was once told by Randy Couture before the Olympic trials. He told me that if the worst thing that happens to you in your life is losing a fight, then you’re doing all right. That always stuck with me. Fighting is just the thing I am doing now but in the end, I know that it won’t matter. As long as I take the focus off myself then it’s impossible to feel anything but calm because I’m just part of the movie of life.
How old were you when you first recognized this capacity for detached competence, and was there a vivid moment that stands out to you when you realized you possessed it?
I’ve always had a very even temper. Maybe it’s genetic, but I am very slow to anger and very quick to calm down. I’m very aware of how my body feels when it gets angry and I don’t enjoy that feeling at all anyway. This is the same for many stressful emotions. I’m not beyond feeling shame or fear, but I think it takes a bit more to elicit those feelings in me that it does the average person.
I don’t know remember a specific age I realized this, but I have always been able to – even with a young child’s perspective – understand that reacting to how I feel may not be the best option. Thinking about a problem instead of reacting to it always came naturally to me. So even in a fight, I think I do a remarkable job of keeping a cool head and reasoning my way through a problem. If I take a big shot, I’m able to keep a cool head and respond appropriately instead of just instinctually. My dad was like this, and maybe that’s where it comes from.
For men who wish to cultivate that ability to detach upon situational command, what experiences, exercises or understandings would you recommend they incorporate in life?
Once you realize that you don’t matter, detachment becomes very easy. People are only attached to outcomes because they believe these outcomes define them. Let’s use fighting as an example. I am detached in the ring because while fighting is a large part of my life, it’s very hard for me to ever introduce myself as a fighter or think of myself as one. The question “what do you do?” is annoying to me because the expected response is that which I don’t identify with. To use a cliché, fighting is something I do, not who I am.
So, it’s easy for me to step back and look at this whole boxing thing as sort of a self-development thing. I am good enough to earn a living at the moment, but maybe that won’t be the case in a year from now. But boxing will go on. It has a much greater lifespan than me. So I don’t matter. So it’s easy for me to detach.
Taking that example, you can see how one can become detached instantly. When you remember that no matter what, you’re going to die, it becomes a lot easier to deal with deadly situations. Especially when you remember that the deadly situation has been around far longer than you and it will persist well after you die. You don’t matter. The key to detachment is remembering that you are not attached to anything you do, if for any other reason than one day you’re to die. Then the relationship will be over.
Victory in the ring and life means outcomes of increasingly powerful resonance. How do you approach detachment from outcomes, when it’s not merely victory in the ring but also the prize of the purse, the validation of your promoter and the passion of your fans?
I am focused on the process. When you focus on the process, superior outcomes always result. This has the added advantage of keeping your off of external distractions. This is why I’m so obsessed with my boxing and not the outcome of the match. It helps me focus on what’s important. If I only cared about winning, I might do something like use a banned substance. Whatever your feelings about performance enhancing drugs are is irrelevant. What is relevant is that they’re illegal, against the rules, and they will cost you respect and earnings. So, I stay focused on doing a good job. Fighting well. I don’t think about the other stuff because it doesn’t make me a better fighter anyway.
Many thanks to Ed “Black Magic” Latimore for his deep insights.
This concludes the second and final installment of this interview. Many thanks to Ed for his time, his thoughtful care, and his brilliant, powerful insight into the mind of the Dark Triad Man.
Make sure you follow @EdLatimore on Twitter today.
Watch his “Thoughts from the Ring” episodes on YouTube.
Read his writings at EdLatimore.com and subscribe.
The man blends and forges thought, word and deed into a glittering weapon of powerful living.
Study well the wisdom and knowledge of this chess-playing physicist who understands cracking bone and blood.
Observe him as a practitioner.
Model him as a scholar.
And follow him in mastery of the Way.
His champion throne draws near.
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