I used to only go looking for wisdom and knowledge from people that have similar interests as mine, or at least interests that appear similar on the surface. Weightlifters, CrossFitters, etc. This is a mistake. Sure, the idea above comes from a decorated MMA fighter, a pastime that I will likely never participate in at any point for the rest of my life1. But we can always pull some great ideas from other disciplines. Fighting in particular seems to contribute a lot of formidable ideas about training, preparation, and mindset. Perhaps this is because the stakes are so high: for most of us, a mistake in training leads - at worst - to some hurt feelings, damaged pride, or maybe a strained muscle. For a fighter, a mistake might lead to losing an eyeball, internal bleeding, or eating through a straw for the rest of their life. This is great motivation to get their poop in a group it seems.
"False ideas about yourself destroy you."
Staying a perpetual student keeps us humble and keeps our ego in check. It seems we are constantly warned to stay away from overly negative people that drag us down, and for good reason: these people suck. But they are easy to spot, and even easier to eliminate. Often times it's as simple as unfriending them on Facebook, or throwing them out of a moving vehicle.
But we rarely get warned to stay away from the opposite, which would be those that think we're just a little too awesome and constantly stroke our ego. If you ask me, this shit is even more dangerous than somebody who is bringing us down. This is how we end up with a mullet ... in 2016. If we constantly surround ourselves with people that have nothing but good, positive things to say about us, is it so hard to imagine ending up with a haircut that went out of style decades ago? Or something worse, like maybe a jackass personality?
Okay perhaps that was a bad example, because as it turns out the modern mullet is actually quite super sweet and sexy.
This is the path to thinking we're good enough and we've come far enough. There's a lot of this going on in social media and elsewhere these days, and I think it's getting just a little overblown. Yeah, we should learn to love ourselves and be happy with our bodies and who we are and all that shit. There is definitely value there, especially if we're really truly happy with where we sit. But often times this content - which if we call it what is really is we'd say something more like apathy - is just the beginning of moving backwards.
Even if we do happen to be truly happy with where we are, we may forget that it took a lot of hard work to get to this place and it will continue to take hard work and diligence to maintain. Constantly reminding ourselves how awesome we are - however we choose to make that happen - helps us forget these facts. This is what happens when we decide to stop learning, and lose our "plus" to use Shamrock's terminology. Being coached, acting as an infinite student and always seeking out new knowledge, humbling ourselves by attempting to learn from others, this all serves as an important reminder that we're not quite as great as we'd like to think we are.
This one hits home very hard for me personally. In regards to training and nutrition, I went a couple long years without a plus; and I certainly suffered because of it. I can see this perfectly in hindsight now, and it makes so much sense. Harder to see in the moment, when all I was focused on was being the plus, content in my own excellence. Without a coach and without a learning mindset, the ego runs around unchecked. And this is a very dangerous place to be, a place where progress goes to die.
1 One would think I'd have learned by now to never say never. Let's just say that in the foreseeable future, I have no desire for cauliflower ear and getting kicked repeatedly in the face.↩
2 Yes, I realize after reviewing and proofing this post that I exclusively included pics of attractive men. Keep your comments to yourself. ↩