First we’ll discuss the aspects of loss, followed by how to overcome those challenges.
All champions are losers. They all know that they’re losers. Just maybe not in the way you would normally think.
You see, in order to truly become a champion, a person must first experience loss. “But wait!” you say, “What about Chris Weidman? He’s undefeated in MMA.” You’re absolutely right, he is. That doesn’t mean that he’s never experienced loss, though. Let’s get down to what I’m talking bout more specifically.
Say you’re in training one day at your Jiu-Jitsu gym. You’ve got a competition coming up as a fresh blue
belt. A new white belt walks in. He’s big; really big, and he used to wrestle. You roll with him and he catches you in the armbar your coach just taught that very day. You “lost”.
Let’s say you’re at that competition now. You get taken down, despite drilling your takedown defense. He passes your guard, even though you’ve worked nothing but guard the entire training camp. You “lost”.
Is the match over? No, but you lost a couple of personal battles right away. Things you’ve struggled with and fought to learn, and it turns out that you weren’t even able to apply them. So does it destroy you, or does it motivate you?
This is the part where you become a champion. Do you think, “Well, screwed it up. Too late to win this one,” or do you keep fighting like you’re going to win? If you give up, you aren’t a champion. A true champion fights to the very last minute.
Does this apply to just your life on the mats? No way. Everyone has something they struggle with outside of their sport. How you handle that can make you a champion as well. Not all champions walk home with a gold medal around their necks.
So how does one overcome their struggles? How can we win despite suffering losses? Well, first we have to recognize that we lose sometimes. We can’t make excuses for it, we just have to own up to it and accept that we aren’t perfect.
A huge way to overcome whatever difficulties we face is through self-monitoring. This is a strategy in
which a person keeps some sort of tally of a specific mistake or challenge that they want to overcome. I, myself, use one of these ->
So, for example, if I wanted to overcome a negative thought process, I would use this tracker to count every single time I experienced a negative thought throughout the day. In short, psychologists have found that when we track our negative impulses, we tend to peak and decline within about 7 weeks. We eventually stop those negative habits.
You don’t have to do this specifically, but it is important to recognize our mistakes. All great champions, despite being confident, still recognize failure on their parts. They never stop changing. They never stop striving to improve. “The word for not changing is ‘death’” – Pat Schneeweis
Here is a video of former UFC champ, Rich Franklin talking about this very subject: