Walk into any hardcore gym in the world, and usually you will see some kind of motivational quote written on the wall. Sometime a chalkboard, sometimes paint, sometimes just a board with post it notes.
I saw some really cool quotes at MetroFlex in Phoenix (owned by the great Josh Barnett. If you are ever there be sure to walk up to him and mention my name… I promise you will get kicked out in 30 seconds flat) It got me thinking, if I could go back to where it all started in 1993, what would I like to to tell my younger self? What quotes would I put up on the wall of my gym that were important enough for people to see every day? Most importantly… what quotes would make a difference in peoples life?
- Breath is life. A deep breath fixes half your problems.
Next time you get stressed out, if you’re about to get into a fight, or right before your next set… Stop. Take a really deep breath. Start by inhaling into your belly… expand the belly button. When your stomach is full, move up to your lungs. Let it out slowly, feel the air go out of your body. Feel your heart rate go down, feel your mind take over your body. This simple thing will change your life. If you don’t believe it, try it.
- Never try to control the outcome. Put in the work every single day, let the rest happen.
Outcomes are out of your control. Period, end of story. There are so many different factors in an outcome there is NO POSSIBLE way you could control it. What can you control? Everything that leads up to it. Work hard every day, focus on every day, every meal, every training session, every set. Break it down to the simple things, achievable goals. Nobody climbs a mountain without taking small individual steps.
- Never set an artificial timeline, never try to force the situation. Everything happens in due time.
How many of us have signed up for an athletic event way way early and felt forced into it? How many of us come up to showtime stressed out and feeling nervous? How many of us never hit what we feel is our peak during competition? Whats the solution? Your body is smarter than you are, let it tell you when its time. Dont focus on one event, focus on lifetime health and fitness. I can personally attest that it IS possible to stay in shape year round without getting burnt out if you use the right formula. Check out Stan Efferding and his Vertical Diet, it changed my life and it can change yours.
- Goals arent always meant to be reached, sometimes they are just meant to shoot for.
I grew up with a guy that wanted to be an astronaut when he was a little kid. He never made it… what does he do now? He is a 747 pilot and he used to fly jet fighters in Iraq. The guy makes 3x as much money as I do… when you ask him if was ever upset that he didn’t get to go into space… “Nope, that was my original goal, but I still wound up in the sky more time than i’d ever be in space”
- Things ALWAYS happen for a reason, although it might not be obvious now it WILL become clear.
If you sit down and go over your life in your head, you will be surprised that most of the negative things that happened to you motivated you to do something bigger and better. Take a minute, go back and think. Steve Jobs got fired from the company he created (which was bankrupt and failing), only to come back a few years later and create the most profitable private business in the world. Arnold Schwarzenegger went AWOL from the army to compete in his first bodybuilding show, he was told he would be written up and punished. His punishment? He was to run the base gym the rest of his time there.
- You will never truly know a person until you fight them, or squat with them.
Everything you will ever need to know about life you will learn either in the ring, or in the squat rack. Fighting and squatting are the exact same thing, you have external forces literally trying to bring you to your knees and the true character of a person is revealed in these moments… there’s no time to put on a front, no time to pretend. You are what you are in these moments. If you ever truly want to know someone, either take them to the gym and take them through an intense squat workout, or take them to a club and spar with them.
- You don’t get to choose what you are born to do.
Everyone is born to do something, they are given all the skills necessary to be great at it and they are given the motivation and personality to do it. The tricky part is finding what it is. Someday think to yourself, “If I never had to work a day in my life, what would I do” … then that is probably your answer. (As long as you don’t say smoking pot and watching UFC… I don’t know a lot of people making a living at this. If you find one, please let me know and ill say im wrong)
- If its inside you, its working on you. When its outside of you, you’re working on it.
If you have a problem and you keep it to yourself, if you leave it bottled up inside, if you refuse to address it… then that problem is causing you serious harm. Stress, fatigue, negative thinking, sleeplessness, the list goes on. The minute you take out a pen and paper, the minute you pull out your laptop, the minute you sit down with your friend and start talking about it… the problem is no longer inside you, its now in front of you. Now, you are working on it. That’s all it takes to start solving a problem, take it from the inside and put it on the outside.
- Negative thinking only distracts you from the goal.
How many times have you said, “I’m going to do this competition and im going to beat this person because they beat me” or “Everyone says im not in shape, im going to prove them wrong”. Instead of thinking about bad things that happened, what people said to you, how other people feel… try using that energy to train. Try thinking about yourself instead of what other people are doing or saying. Put your energy toward something positive and turn the negativity into intensity. Not only will you feel better throughout the day, but being positive improves your training and endurance a lot more than being negative.
- The day you become the strongest, the smartest, or the best in room… get out of that room.
The best way to get really good at something is to hang around with a bunch of people better than you are, stronger than you are, smarter than you are. You will rise to meet them, not the other way around. Put yourself around people that give you room and tools to grow and get better, not the other way around.