Thursday, December 15, 2011


Grit: firmness of mind or spirit : unyielding courage in the face of hardship or danger.

Is it born or made?

If you weren't born with it you aren't totally screwed.

10 Ways to Cultivate Grit in Your Training (and your life):

1. Grow your humility.
Grit should come from a good place. Forcing your way may work for a while, but to access the best of yourself, let it be ok to learn from others.

2. Stand up.
Accept the challenge. Get off the wall. Push those around you to go further, to work harder. If you gas out, at least you worked hard enough to gas out.  

3. Try.
Actually try. Don't just pretend you are trying by going through the motions. Dig deeper and mean it.  

4. Focus on your goal.
Put a target on the thing you are working toward and do not take your eyes off it. Laser sharp focus. Take it seriously.  

5. Use your team.
Growing grit alone is ok, but you'll be more successful with your team. If you don't have one, get one. You will all go further by setting your sights on the next level and moving forward together.  

6. Lighten up.
You have to. Being too serious leads to frustration and blow-ups. Grit is not insanity. If you don't take breaks to laugh or chill out, you will go insane.  

7. Train no matter what.
Get yourself to the mat like your life depends on it. If you can't get to the mat (due to extreme travel or crisis) stay close to your practice via video, notes, and mental repetition.

8. Don't listen to the maniacal voices in your head.
Have you figured out which ones are crazy and which ones are helpful? If you haven't, take a minute to do it now. Or, wait until you are sparring and tell the one that says you're going to lose to shut the f*%k up.  

9. Find a reason bigger than you.
Exactly that. How far will you go just for you? Compare that to how far you are willing to go for someone or something, or your coaches or your team. If the bigger than you reason is more effective, keep reminding yourself of what it is and why it matters.  

10. Keep going.
Today's hard stuff gets easier and new hard stuff shows up. Whatever is kicking your ass today will lose impact, and larger things will rise up to kick your ass tomorrow. If you keep going, in spite of all the ass-kicking, you will grow, you will improve and you will have grit.

This post was originally written for OTM Fight Shop San Francisco.

Wednesday, December 7, 2011

Mini-Vent re: Success Culture

I have read so many blog posts and quotes about following dreams and living a DIY life of passion and fulfillment, especially in the professional realm.  The message consistently seems to be that once the brave choice has been made, the doors open. 

Not so much.

What about the intense WORK that accompanies these dreams and passions?  What about the times when no amount of work seems to further the cause?  What about the times that feel so solitary with little outer world reception?

The intense work, the short term failings and the solitude are important parts of the process.   It's "feedback, not failure."

Maybe the dream will happen, and maybe it won't, but it definitely won't without effort.  Working to make it happen is as much a part of "living the dream" as experiencing the completed process.  I think we forget this sometimes.

I think we also forget that these things take time.  If the work isn't working, step back and find something to add stability to your life.  Evaluate every angle of your project, look at it in new light, then go back. 

Whatever you do, be objective sometimes.  Remember that it takes courage to do this.  The economy is not reflective of your personal worth.  (And workout, because that usually helps everything).

For further reading, check out this post from Seth Godin: Preparing for the breakthrough/calamity