Get Familiar: Arnold Vanderlyde
As a small, independent brand, almost all our business is based on personal relationships. One friend of the brand is boxer, businessman and motivational speaker Arnold Vanderlyde. He spent some time with us in Amsterdam to discuss his career as a boxer, transitioning into the world of business and how there are parallels between the two worlds. He also shared with us his story and his affirmations that he has been working on since the start of his adult life. With our brand new Patta Fighter’s Heaven capsule collection set to drop this Saturday, May 29th at 10:00 CEST, it was the perfect time to get familiar with Arnold Vanderlyde.
First of all, how are you?
I’m good, I’m fine and I had a great time today!
So, when were you first aware of boxing?
Back in 1979, I was first exposed to boxing. A friend of mine from the neighbourhood introduced me to it and you know back then I was a little bit of a difficult kid who was mad at the world. I had some anger issues. And my friend was like “hey, you should join me one time to my boxing club”. The boxing club was called De Amature in Munstergeleen. It's a small town next to Sittard which is in Limburg. This is where I first met Muhammad Ali. So I went there and I was fascinated, instantly! The first training session was just about fundamentals, then the second time I went, we got straight into sparring and then we went to shadow boxing - no contact. I was partnered with an experienced boxer who had already fought a few bouts and I wanted to prove myself so bad that when we started, I hit with an instant left jab on the nose. No contact went out the window. The other guy looked at his coach and the coach gave him the nod as if to say “let him have it”. I was bounced around the ring from all angles, left to right, up and down by this guy. However, he did it out of respect and with a distinct touch of class. When I got home that night, I couldn't stop thinking: this is what I want and I want to get better at this. This thought was stuck in my head and I was always thinking about how to get better. This is when Muhammad Ali came into my life. I wanted to be better. I wanted to be like Ali. I was still learning to box, one of the things that I took from Ali teachings was that I always had to be moving. Ali says “as long as you're moving, it's damn near impossible to get hit”. That was the first lesson I got from him and I never let go of that for the rest of my career.
What were some difficulties in the early days of training and competing?
In the beginning it was so hard to be disciplined and discipline is the most fundamental thing in boxing. The power of discipline gave me the ability to turn my negatives into positives. This is also a metaphor for life. Never get too high and never get too low. Knocked out vs winning mood. This is a way that I live my life. I always try to remember this to keep up the winning mentality, to keep moving even when life doesn’t make it easy for you. If you get hit, you have to get back up. I think the same counts for Patta, you guys are always looking for new ways to innovate and face the challenges presented to you but you never stop.
During the spare hours in your career, what would you do to fill up the time?
Reading took up a lot of my time. I like to focus on positive thinking so when I got to travel through the sport it was the perfect time to take my books with me and read them on the road. They were always motivational books. I think it is super important to never stop learning. I took these teachings through to the ring. Never stop learning. Never stop improving on yourself and it was the same ethos of the man that I was inspired by. He had such a big impact in the ring but his effects on society are still being felt today.
Now you're in the business world, are there any parallels with being an athlete?
Man, I love this question! Perseverance! Never give up! The largest parallel between business and sports is that your conditioning of your physical and mental health is paramount. Your intelligence is like a muscle that needs to be taken care of in order to grow. Just like when I was in the ring. I would speak to myself positively. Just keep a positive mental state. That's why I started writing my affirmations down. Firstly, I did it in my head and then later on paper - I use them all the time for myself to pick myself up again. If you approach life this way, losing doesn’t exist, you always win!
And the affirmations, How long have you done that for?
From the beginning of my career in the 80s until now. It's funny because Muhammad Ali did the same thing. This is where I see the parallels between myself and Ali. He would say “I’m the greatest”, “I can do this” so I started to do the same. You know what, I still do it today. Once you start buying into your own positive thoughts, it becomes a part of your body, almost tangible and this allows you to reach those great heights you aim for. You can also see it the other way around though, when you think of getting knocked down, you will stay down in life. It's a simple recipe but it's the recipe for success. Simple recipes are the best, why complicate things.
Muhammad Ali spoke like a poet whenever he was in public, what was your favourite quote from the man himself?
“I’m the greatest”, “fly like a butterfly, sting like a bee” and that one in particular I started to live by but unfortunately I never got to his level but it gave me my own success.
After an illustrious career what advice would you give to a young boxer, writer or business person?
Always, always be positive. Never give up. Always keep going. It will get you somewhere. And my most important thing for the new generation is that losing doesn't exist, you’re always winning something if you are in the correct state of mind. Even Ali lost matches but he always bounced back because he had the right state of mind.
What can we expect from you in the future?
I love doing what I'm doing now. Translating the life lessons I got from boxing into business. There are so many parallels that are impossible to ignore. Even here at Patta, during the photoshoot, I’m trying to make people feel at ease, at home and give them positivity. You could really feel it today during our photoshoot. If you have the purpose of motivating and inspiring those around you, you will always win. Just gonna just keep positive.