By pure luck, I stumbled upon press passes for a Strikeforce event back in March of 2012. Strikeforce is an MMA organization owned by the UFC and at the time, I did not realize those press passes were my front row tickets for a fight that would completely change the sport forever. On this historic fight card, Meisha Tate (12-2) was defending her title against newcomer Ronda Rousey (4-0).
At the weigh-ins, before I knew who Ronda Rousey was, before I’ve ever heard Meisha Tate’s name, Ronda walked out and I immediately knew she was going to win. You could just see it in her face. By the way Ronda carried herself, she knew with absolute certainty that she would soon be the champ. This was not only my own intuition telling me this, everyone in that room looked at Ronda and knew Tate―the current champ―was in trouble.
To win at anything, it takes the right mindset. To be the best in the world takes a champion mindset. You have to be willing to completely step outside of your comfort zone and sacrifice everything to achieve your goals. Adopting a champion mindset is no easy feat but you can begin to implement that mindset by mirroring the mindset of the most dominant athlete in the world.
After finishing the Ronda Rousey book, My Fight / Your Fight, I for the first time truly understood why her dominance radiated the way it did that day at the weigh-ins. And I now understand why she defied all odds and rose to become the world’s most dominant athlete following that fight.
My Fight/Your Fight by Ronda Rousey:
Barely scratching the surface, here are only nine great lessons I took from the Ronda Rousey book:
1. Thinking you cannot do something is just the easier option
When Ronda was only twelve years old, she hurt her toe one day in practice and assuming it was broke, went crying to her mother who was teaching the class. Her mother did not coddle her like the other parents coddled their injured kid and as Ronda had hoped for, instead, her mother dismissively replied, “It’s a toe” and then told her to go run laps.
Battling through the throbbing toe pain, Ronda completed her laps. On the car ride home from practice, her mother asked Ronda if she knows why she made her run laps to which she replied, “Because you hate me.” “No, it was to show you that you could do it,” her mom replied. “If you want to win the way you say you do, you need to be able to compete, even when you’re in pain. You need to be able to push through. Now you know you can.”
2. You can’t rely on one thing to make you happy
Dedicating your life to achieving Olympic gold is not your average kid’s goal. Training for an Olympic medal means your entire life revolves around completing that goal and achieving happiness through your success. At the 2004 Olympics, Claudia Heill beat Ronda leaving her angry and upset for years following the outcome. Claudia did not just rob her of an Olympic medal, she robbed Ronda of her happiness.
In 2011, Claudia committed suicide by jumping from a sixth-floor window in Vienna. By the time she died, Ronda had already achieved her own Olympic medal and quickly realized how little happiness it actually brought her.
3. Do not focus on the result, focus on the process
What is your goal? Is it to win an Olympic gold medal or to climb Mount Everest? Maybe it’s to create the next billion dollar app. Whatever that goal is, once completed and that goal is achieved, that moment only lasts for so long and then what’s next? Find fulfillment in the sacrifices, the blood, sweat and tears. Focus not on the result but instead the process.
4. Do not let fear hold you back from moving forward
You have to know when it is time to move on and taking that next step isn’t always easy. People stay unhappy at their jobs or in relationships due to the fear of the unknown, not knowing what’s next. They let fear hold them back.
If you’re unwilling to leave someplace you’ve outgrown, you will never reach your full potential. To be the best, you have to constantly be challenging yourself, raising the bar, pushing the limits of what you can do. Don’t stand still, leap forward.
5. You have to be the best on your worst day
Ronda’s mother instilled this thought process into her, “you have to be good enough to win on a bad day because you never know if the Olympics are going to fall on a bad day.”
It’s not enough to just be better than everyone else, you have to be so much better that no one can deny your superiority.
6. Success doesn’t have to come at the price of being miserable
It is just how we were conditioned to think growing up, work hard and it will pay off. As a business owner, manager, or even a company’s new recruit, if you’re dedicated to your work it can sometimes spill over into your personal life. Or your job can severely overwork you leading to a miserable existence. Too many people still sacrifice their own happiness for a paycheck and that is an unnecessary formula.
“I used to think I had to be miserable to earn success. But I’ve lost that need and realized it’s very old fashioned.”
7. Turn limitations into opportunities
In business and in life, nothing ever goes as planned or as smooth as you pictured it within your head. There are those who look at obstacles as roadblocks and those who see the obstacle as a new path. The obstacle becomes the way is an effective Stoic approach.
Don’t focus on what you can’t do. Focus on what you can.
8. Know what it takes to be the best in the world and know it’s achievable
“Someone has to be the best in the world. Why not you?” Ronda’s mom would ask a variation of that question every day. Being the best in the world is not easy but it is achievable. Do not limit your future by undervaluing your own worth, set your goals high and do everything you can to achieve them. As Zig Ziglar said it, “If you aim at nothing, you’ll hit it every time.”
9. Making a change in your life is as easy as making a decision and acting on it. That’s it
This short tale is a good one told to Ronda by an ex-boyfriend. It’s so good, I figured it was best conveyed verbatim:
Say you’re sitting in a cubicle and you hate your job. It’s terrible. Everyone around you is an asshole. Your boss is a dick. All of your work is just mind-numbingly soul-sucking. But in five minutes you are about to leave for your first vacation you’ve had in five years. You’re going to be gone for two weeks at this beautiful Bora Bora seaside bungalow. It’s literally the most lavish thing you’ve ever done in your entire life.
How would you feel? You would feel great.
Now imagine that you are in Bora Bora. You’re on this beautiful beach with amazing people, and you’ve had so much fun. In five minutes, you’re going to have to put down the piña colada with the little umbrella in it. You have to say goodbye to these people. You will go back to your terrible job and won’t take another vacation for five years.
How would you feel? You would feel terrible.
Now, think about it. You’re sitting in the cubicle at the job that you hate and you feel awesome. And you’re sitting on the beach with a drink in your hand and you feel terrible. How you feel is entirely in your mind. Your mind has nothing to do with your environment. It has nothing to do with anyone around you. It is entirely your decision.
Making a change in your life is as easy as making a decision and acting on it. That’s it.
As an entrepreneur, the lessons obtained from Ronda Rousey’s book are invaluable and motivation is at an all time high. Anyone can learn a great deal from this book so I highly suggest giving it a read.
Below is a pic I took from the press conference I wasn’t supposed to be at following the Strikeforce fight. In that moment, less than an hour after the fight was over, she for the first time could absorb the fact that she was now the Strikeforce champion. This was at a time when the UFC vowed to never have women fighters enter the octagon.
Ronda Rousey has accomplished a lot since that night.