Will Power

Vinny Pazienza: Bleed For This – The Power Of Belief

A serious accident for the then new middleweight world title holder, Vinny Pazienza, caused him to relinquish his title. His neck  was broken in a horrific car accident and was informed by doctors that he might never walk again, certainly never fight. Unable to accept the Doctor’s diagnosis, his belief helped him overcome an incredible life-threatening injury. This post aims to uncover the power of belief.

Wearing a medical device called a Halo, a circular metal brace screwed into the skull in four spots and propped up with four metal rods, Pazienza had it screwed to his skull for 3 months. During which time he disobeyed the doctors’ orders maintaining a workout regime! (see the video below)

Considered the greatest comeback in boxing history, Pazienza returned to the ring thirteen months after the accident and beat future WBC World Jr. Middleweight Champion Luis Santana via a 10-round decision. To find out more about Vinny Pazienza visit: www.vinnypaz.com.


“No Dr  you’re wrong! I am going to box again, you see you don’t understand what kind of man I am!”

Vinny Paz’s belief was so strong that he knew he would be boxing again.

What is a belief?

The dictionary defines it as:

1 : a state or habit of mind in which trust or confidence is placed in some person or thing

2 : conviction of the truth of some statement or the reality of some being or phenomenon especially when based on examination of evidence

We personally choose to form a belief in our own mind about the way we perceive the world around us – it is a recognition that some concept or thing is true and valid. From this, we create our internal ‘map of reality’.

Our beliefs are an amalgamation of information we’ve taken in up to this current point of time in our lives. This is our perception of life, based upon experiences and knowledge. When we see things a certain way it does not mean that’s the actual way it is in reality! But, it is our reality – which is why beliefs are so powerful!

Perception is not reality!

Your perception of reality is not reality! It is a measurement of reality within the confines of your senses and filters – it is a ‘map’ of reality. The map is not the territory!


Looking at the NLP logical levels model, the behaviour and environment are visible, however below the surface are the influences which cannot be seen. These have a big impact on the behaviour. I’m going to suggest the lower down you change, the bigger the change in behaviour.

In Vinny Paz’s case, his mission purpose- to become World Champion. His identity created by his sport – ‘I am a great boxer’. In other words, boxing has shaped his identity as a person, his self-image “You don’t understand what kind of a man I am!” .  His belief –  that in no certain terms – the doctor is wrong! He will fight again!  All of his values are aligned towards his goal – returning to boxing.

Vinny Paz’s mission, identity, Belief and values all shaped his perception of reality – what is true and what is not, enabling him to return to boxing.

What beliefs are helping you? Follow Vinny Paz’s structure of beliefs and values to overcome adversary.


Verdi Productions acquired the rights to this story, and in 2016 the feature film Bleed for This.

Bleed For This in a nutshell:

  • Your perception of reality is not reality
  • Your reality is a measurement of reality, or a ‘map’
  • Your belief of reality can shape your reality

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