Today I came upon a memorable passage in a fantastic book called The Fighter’s Mind: Inside the Mental Game by Sam Sheridan. Driven by interviews with the best competitive fighters in the world (wrestling, boxing, MMA etc), it’s chock full of insights on the mindset needed to be a champion.
For a person with no martial arts experience, this book would be interesting, but for others who have spent any amount of time training in the ring or on the mat, it’s mesmerizing. (Some years ago I trained in Muay Thai and Gracie Jiu-Jitsu, and my passionate interest for the sport of grappling and MMA has never left, so Sheridan’s book has been a rare treat).
The passage that I found so memorable was about the winner’s mindset of continuous progress even in the face of setbacks. In a chapter called “The King of Scrambles”, trainer extraordinaire Ricardo Liborio states:
"Maturity is a big part of success in fighting, because it means that you understand the game—that losing is part of the game. It doesn’t mean to let yourself get conquered, but to know that you can win again, at the right time you can be great. The key to doing well in competition is to accept.
Accept that you can lose, you can not perform. Take this big bag of rocks out of your backpack, take the pressure off, and you’ll do better. Once you understand that, man, you can do well.”
Worth re-reading many times.