Win or learn.

November 14, 2017 BY

This was the title of a book that caught my eye in the book shop recently. At a closer look, it surprised me to see that it was a book about Mixed Martial Arts (MMA) written by John Kavanagh, who is Conor McGregor’s coach. If neither of those names ring a bell or you do not know what MMA is, basically two guys enter a caged ring and try and belt the hell out of each other. Conor McGregor is an Irish fighter who is currently its biggest draw card.

Like most things in life, things are not always as they seem at first glance. The book describes John Kavanagh’s journey as a trainer and coach in the burgeoning sport of MMA from very humble beginnings.

Two main aspects became clear while reading this book, one was just how technical MMA fighting is and secondly John’s attitude to losing. His attitude is one of constant learning. If you win that’s fantastic, if you lose it is the best learning opportunity you will ever have. Win or learn.

So many times when things don’t go right for us we emotionally haul ourselves over the coals and get off track until there is enough passage of time or we get distracted by something else. To replace this with an attitude of accepting the mistake or loss, looking for the lesson and moving on quickly is a much more positive outcome.

These top MMA fighters never stop practicing and learning. Mixed Martial Arts actually means learning multiple disciplines to elite levels. It is a mixture of boxing, wrestling, karate, Brazilian jiu jitsu and several other variations of these. If they lose, they look at what technical aspect they went wrong in and continue to train in that aspect. Win or learn.

Interestingly they never expect to reach perfection. They know it is not about the destination it’s about the process and the journey.

If you have trouble moving on from setbacks then this win or learn attitude can be immensely helpful. If you are secretly revelling in the drama created by your setbacks then that’s another whole subject for discussion. You don’t want to learn, you just want attention. It’s important to understand the difference and the effect that it has on those around you. I think it’s much better to choose to learn and the choice is all yours to make.

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