In the fifties, George Foreman grew up in the slums of Houston, Texas. He dropped out of school in the ninth grade and ran with street gangs. A life of crime was written in the stars. Today, George is worth $300 million. What went right?
George Foreman is a raging success and is admired the world over, not only for his boxing and business accomplishments, but for his positive attitude, kindness and generosity.
What sort of mindset and actions caused an impoverished slum bully, in his youth, to reach this level of success and admiration today?
In 1965 George joined the Job Corps and learned a better way to do what he was already doing on the streets. He learned how to fight—more specifically, how to box. In 1968 he won an Olympic gold medal. After that, he became a professional fighter and won his first 37 fights, including a knockout of former world champion Joe Frazier.
In 1974, George went on to fight Muhammad Ali in the famed “Rumble in the Jungle” match. George lost that fight but won several subsequent fights until finally losing to Jimmy Young in 1977.
After the fight with Young, Foreman claimed to have a religious experience that changed his life forever. He retired from boxing and became a Christian minister and founded the George Foreman Youth and Community Center in Houston.
Fast forward ten years—George is struggling financially. To keep his community center open, he decides to return to the last point in his life where he was making good money.
At 38 years old, and grossly overweight, George went back to boxing. He worked himself into shape and plowed through a string of opponents (some almost half his age) until he had a title shot against then champ Evander Holyfield. Even though Foreman lost the fight against Holyfield by unanimous decision,* he was praised for going the distance with the younger champion.
Most important to Foreman, he earned $12.5 million on the Holyfield fight. His return to the ring was a stellar business decision.
George continued fighting after that, beating opponents, until he finally retired at the ripe old age of 48.
The Businessman Emerged in Full
Back in the limelight, George was a target of many entrepreneurs wanting to position the Foreman name with their products. One such product got the attention of George’s wife, who, after trying it, insisted that George consider endorsing the product. George did exactly that.
You know it as the George Foreman Grill. It is estimated that George has made more than $200 million from the sales of that product alone.
George went on to have numerous other business successes, and to this day he is still going strong.
Foreman became an investor in his son’s (George III) successful gym in Boston, Everybody Fights. With another son, George Foreman Jr., George senior started a boxing promotion company, Foreman Boys. In 2015, he started his online meat-ordering company, George Foreman’s Butcher Shop, which is humming along today. Additionally, he has a successful reality TV show, along with his fellow castmates William Shatner, Henry Winkler and Terry Bradshaw where they travel around the world as they check off their bucket list and explore foreign cultures.
So, what can we learn from George’s string of successes? Short of becoming a boxing champ, are there certain actions and attitudes that led George to his affluence? There are.
Returning to the Source of Affluence
Early in his career, George had attained personal and financial affluence through boxing. After his long absence, he went back to the main source of that affluence condition—which was boxing.
Whether George knew it or not, he had applied one of the action steps L. Ron Hubbard outlined in what’s called the Conditions Formulas. This is how they work:
In the 1960s, Mr. Hubbard had done extensive research on the various conditions, or states, of existence that an individual or organization can find themselves in. For example, a business could be in a condition of Danger, with the electricity about to be turned off. Or it could be in Affluence, meaning the business suddenly had a steep increase in income. In addition to these two, there are many other conditions.
Hubbard found that to move UP the conditions from a lower state to a more prosperous state, it is important to first recognize what condition your business is in and then follow the formula for that condition, which, when done properly, will graduate you up to the next higher condition. The formulas consist of exact action steps.
In the 1970s George achieved a condition of affluence with his boxing career. He had gone from poverty as a child to a millionaire. Then, later in life, when he faltered financially, he went back to boxing, which caused him to achieve a condition of financial affluence again. Although George may not have been aware of it, he had naturally applied one of the action steps L. Ron Hubbard outlined in an article entitled “AFFLUENCE FORMULA.”
“Discover what caused the Condition of Affluence and strengthen it.” The “cause” of George’s affluence condition in the seventies was his boxing ability. Years later he tapped back into that same cause and again became a professional boxer.
George’s Rules for Success: Luck, or More Natural Laws at Work?
Listed below are two of George’s rules for success. As you will see, these rules align with another datum that Mr. Hubbard wrote in his book Problems of Work in 1952. “The ingredients of success are then, first, an ability to confront work with joy and not horror . . .”
George Foreman always seems to be smiling. He even authored a book entitled Going the Extra Smile. One reason for his constant grin is because he thoroughly finds joy in his work, which is verified by these simple rules he lives by:
- “Approach things with a sense of humor.” George adds, “You cannot get something serious out of me, you will not get anything serious out of me. I apply that in life and in business.”2
- “Be nice.” This piece of advice George got from his father. George says, “Be the nicest person anyone’s ever met in business. And that’s something we don’t have anymore because everything happens over technology—no one knows how to be nice anymore, we don’t even know how to be social. People want to feel good, and feel good about their purchases. So be nice to work with. And be who you are when no one’s looking.”
Simple advice to help achieve success: “Confront work with joy and not horror”; “Approach things with a sense of humor”; and last but not least, “Be nice.”
It seems we all intuitively know we should have fun in business and keep a sense of humor, but as the saying goes, it’s easier said than done. It takes constant reminding. Perhaps, if you take these concepts and think of them not just as “feel-good concepts” but rather rules to do business by, you will see a result not only in your frame of mind but in the bottom line.
*Unanimous decision (UD): a winning criterion in several full-contact combat sports, such as boxing, kickboxing, Muay Thai, mixed martial arts and other sports involving striking, in which all three judges agree on which fighter won the match. (“Unanimous decision.” Glossary. BoxRec.com, 5 Jan. 2006.)
- Hartung, Adams. “George Foreman Net Worth.” Bankrate.com, 18 Apr. 2017.
- Roberts, Daniel. “George Foreman’s Best Business Advice.” Fortune.com. Time, 16 Mar. 2015.