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Do the Bigger Fall Harder?

With her unprecedented defeat, MMA Fighter Ronda Rousey went from being an icon of “mythical” proportions to the poster child for fragility in just a matter of seconds. Now, she has finally come out of hiding to discuss her future in the Ultimate Fighting Championship:

The former women’s bantamweight champion revealed on Tuesday that her upcoming bout with Amanda Nunes at UFC 207 would be ‘one of my last fights.’

Now UFC president Dana White has confirmed that news as well by saying that Rousey has informed him that her career will come to a close in the near future, although he didn’t want to let the cat out of the bag on how many fights she actually has left in her.

It’s hard to believe that such a dominant figure can be sapped of all confidence following a setback. So what exactly happened there? Let’s revisit the shame/guilt dynamic, shall we?

 Many people think shame and guilt are the same thing, but they are very difference. To reiterate a concept I’ve discussed in the past, guilt is feeling bad about something you did, while shame is feeling bad about what you are, your very essence, your very identity

 For shame-based people, even what little sense of guilt they have ends up fused with shame, making it something called toxic guilt. That is, they can’t separate their guilt from their shame, meaning they can’t separate their actions from their identity. For example, when you are operating from a sense of guilt, you can say something like “I am a good, decent guy who just happened to do a stupid thing. Doing something stupid doesn’t make my whole identity defective.”

Quoting “The Rawness” website, which is now down. Emphasis mine.

Ronda Rousey did not see herself as a good fighter who happened to be winning due to good technique and hard work; rather, she was an untouchable supherhuman who simply couldn’t be challenged.

There’s nothing wrong with a little overconfidence or banter, but the real problem starts when you begin to identify with the external, namely, your actions or circumstances.

“I’m going to beat up Correia and Tate, then go film a movie.”

-Ronda Rousey

Rousey went from boldly proclaiming her fights as an afterthought to hiding her bruised post-bout face in the airport. She constructed herself so squarely on the external that after the defeat, she claimed to have thoughts of harming herself. Afterall, her identity as she saw it, was defective. She was defective.

While many will debate her status as a role model, it is best to view Ronda Rousey’s story as a cautionary tale with universal application. She inspired many in various ways and encouraged women to find their craft, but she failed spectacularly in showing how to handle a setback. For her, it’s not too late. She can take this lesson into her newfound acting career. For those of us watching, we’re just as susceptible. We may not experience a fall anywhere near those heights, however identifying with the external in any situation can prove to be just as toxic.





The Best Revenge

“Be not overcome of evil, but overcome evil with good.”

-Apostle Paul

We live in a world where mediocrity is commonplace.

You expect others to bring competence to their jobs, only to be disappointed. You expect social and emotional maturity, but instead you get thin-skinned pugilists who deal out bitterness as a default. You expect intelligence, but to your dismay, you encounter the masses making superficial commentary about the impending Presidential election.

There is only one way to win.

Want to hit back at poor customer service? Bring excellence to every task you undertake. Take on the unintelligent by refusing to entertain it (“it seems we have nothing to learn here, so I should better not engage in a ‘debate’ at this time”). Trade kindess and confidence for the bitter and vitriolic.

You are the thermostat. Allowing the unsophisticated, the emotional predators, and the undesirable to change your temperature is a victory for them. Do not get in the mud.

Unless you’re a candidate in the midst of campaign season. Jump in the mud and fight. You’re already dirty.


In the previous post, I covered the folly of pursuing external rewards for your fulfillment and demonstrated its inverse relationship to your happiness.

Now, I’d like to expand on a concept I alluded to: defining and achieving happiness.

What is Happiness?

If I could simplify the process of happiness down to its very core, it would look like this:

Happiness is Gratitude.

The focus is not on what you can have, or can be; the focus strictly revolves around all that you have and all that you are in this moment. Your job from there is to be thankful for the experiences you have had as well as the good characteristics you possess.

What you focus on becomes your reality. This is why two men can be in the same spot in life, yet one is happy and one is not. Concentrating on the “haves” will yield more; concerning yourself with lack will allow the lack to manifest.

Your assignment: Each day (I prefer the morning personally) find 5 things to be grateful for and briefly focus on them. They can be experiences, things you’ve learned the previous day, your good qualities, etc. Keep this up for 3 weeks and let me know how (or if) things have changed.

The One

“The One” is a mythical concept that is destroying your happiness. Yet you place so much pressure on yourself to achieve it.

The one could refer to the one girl, the one job or school, the one house/city/location, etc.

What happens when you don’t get “the one?” Well let’s take a look at your thought process:

“If I only had X, I would be happy/fulfilled/complete.”

Failure to achieve this need want pushes your fulfillment further and further away, as it desperately depends on getting the one.

So, what happens if you do get it? Let’s take a look:

  1. Your fulfillment never happens, thus you find a new “one” to look forward to. The job you wanted? It’s yours. Now you’d be happy if only you got the ostentatious office, the raise,  the big project…
  2. Reality hits you hard, and you realized what you “needed” all along is actually not the right thing for you. But will you change? Nope, you will rationalize yourself into oblivion.
  3. You realize the folly in your approach and begin to exercise gratitude for all that you have, seeing the one in a different light. True fulfillment is now yours. You submit the script of your life to Disney.

You can save yourself a TON of trouble by taking the following phrase to heart:

Happiness Comes From Within.

Say it five times meaningfully. Write it on your mirror. Meditate on it. Do what you must to ingrain this truth into every fiber of your being.

Then do yourself a favor and move towards gratitude for what you have and seek to fulfill yourself. For if any one external thing is the source of your future happiness, then it controls you, emotionally, mentally, and maybe sometimes physically.

If that’s your thing, keep chasing it. But I implore you to turn and find true fulfillment.

Turn within.

Who Are You?

Let’s talk about the person in front of the mirror for a while. A few pointers:

How do you Define yourself? It’s imperative you define yourself before others get the chance to. Advertisers spend billions each year to shape your opinion of yourself. Those closest to you make snap judgments on your character. Society defines you by the amount of social value you bring to the table.

Wake up early and affirm who you are.

Do you like who you are? News: if you don’t like who you are, you can’t expect others to do so.

The good news is that you can change who you are by changing the way you think and taking action. Let me be clear that your change must come from a place of acceptance. Paraphrasing Shunryu Suzuki:

I am perfect just the way I am, and there’s always room for improvement. 

You are not defective. You don’t need to fix yourself. You must accept yourself, focus on your good qualities, and use your tools of improvement to build new ones.

But Really, Who Are You? To me, at least. I’d like to know who’s reading, so drop a note in the comment box. Tell me what you’d like to see, what you mostly read, etc.

Think on these, for now. Then act.


“Why am I not growing?”

Wrong question.

If you’ve asked yourself such or wondered how you can grow, proceed to the following inquiry:

“When was the last time I was uncomfortable?”

Not the no-eye-contact-cross-the-street type uncomfortable.

You know what I mean. That time you were asked to give a make-or-break speech to a large crowd with under 24 hours of preparation.

The time you were dropped in the middle of a foreign country with only a child’s grasp of the language.

Or how about the instance where you simply kept to your circle at a social because you didn’t want to meet anyone else?

You are uncomfortable with discomfort, which is stunting your growth. Because the very growth you seek occurs within the confines of discomfort.

You want to improve your judo? Walk up to the black belts in your class and get thrown around. Want to learn Italian? Put away the rudimentary language program and start speaking to a native.

“But what good comes from such discomfort? Won’t it kick you out of flow and into anxiety?”

Fair question. If I may:

On Flow: If flow (the optimal zone) sits between boredom and anxiety, better to adjust from the latter. Why? For one, our minds and bodies are far more capable than we can sometimes imagine. We’ve all been told to do a task which we swore we couldn’t undertake, only to find our way through it with a new-found confidence.

Now if the task proves to be beyond your reach, you now know your happy median from which you can perform. Incremental discomfort is still discomfort, and you will still grow. Not a great idea to go from benching the barbell directly to two 45-pound plates, but adding 5 pounds to that barbell every day will put you where you never could’ve imagined (regardless, use a spotter).

However you fancy, the point remains the same: Just leave your current comfort zone.





I Am Enough

I once read a rather poignant article on affirmations. The article was addressed to young, clueless males who struggled in the dating scene, though the principles remain universal.

In this article, the author mentioned that there were only two affirmations anyone would ever need:

  1. I love myself
  2. I am Enough

My attention immediately fell upon the second. Is it true that at the root of our struggles and insecurities is the belief that we are not enough?

As a corollary, can we overcome the insecurities by affirming that we are enough?

I can hear it now: affirmations are junk. Affirmations are useless. Etc.

But what if those affirmations are proclamations of truth?

We know that an affirmation cannot work  without the agreement of logic and emotions. However, as sure as the mathematical principles are two fundamental truths to every human: Our love for ourselves, and our inherent value.

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