Mixed Martial Arts (MMA) represents a fascinating arena for exploring the psychology of success, and, not surprisingly, a lot of the lessons are easily transferable to other areas of life, including dating.
On Saturday night, Ronda Rousey, the woman described as ‘the most dominant champion in the UFC’ by multiple sources was spectacularly knocked out with a vicious head kick by Holly Holm in what was a remarkable upset.
This loss could be put down to a number of factors; Rousey’s comparative inexperience as a striker, her failure to capitalise on the ground, a poor tactical fighting strategy for the opponent in question. No doubt all of these were important factors to one extent or another.
However, we should be open to the possibility that there was something else going on, something missing in terms of what UFC champion Chris Weidman describes as the most important part of MMA -the mindset!
Most will find this laudable as Ronda Rousey is perceived to have a bulletproof mindset and supreme confidence. No doubt she does have an incredible confidence and has always carried herself with an air of invincibility.
Most UFC champions carry themselves in such a way, in such a way that their own defeat seems impossible, even though MMA is one of the most unpredictable sports in the world. However, in some cases that air of invincibility is tempered by a humility and openness to even the worst of possibilities.
For instance, here’s how Aubrey Marcus described the mindset of the man many describe as the greatest mixed martial artist of all time, Jon ‘Bones’ Jones, prior to his grudge match with Daniel Cormier:
Publicly Jon Jones never verbalised the possibility of failure in this grudge match when questioned in the media, so important is it to project an air of confidence in the face of your opponent. Fascinating however that on some level he was at peace with ‘the worst case scenario’ against a rival that he bitterly despised.
Aubrey beautifully highlights the parallels between Jon’s mindset and the ways of the Cherokee and the Samurai. These philosophies are timeless, beautiful and can teach us so much about how to succeed in life, including dating.
But before I get into that, back to Ronda Rousey. My question is, did she have this level of peace with the possibility of failure?
Maybe! Only she will really know.
Like I already stated, it’s important to project an air of invincibility, particularly in the face of an opponent who is actively plotting your demise and in a sport where a lack of confidence is a one-way ticket to a brutal knockout or a broken limb. So, perhaps she projected an unwavering air of certainty in her success publicly but privately she was totally at peace with even the possibility of failure.
However, I have my suspicions to the contrary.
Whilst all UFC champions seem to carry a level of certainty in their success, Rousey’s seems to have been at another level, a level in which it almost seems absurd that she could lose. From regular claims that she will retire undefeated to recently suggesting she could beat everyone in her division with one hand tied behind her back, she’s appeared to project a level of certainty in her success that would make the very idea of failure seem ridiculous.
And if the very idea of failure seems ridiculous, how could she possibly be at peace with it? How could she possibly have ‘accepted’ it as something that could realistically happen?
I personally don’t believe she had accepted the ‘worst case scenario’ in the same way Jone Jones did. On the contrary, I believe she fiercely resisted even the thought of it.
Ultimately, only she’ll know whether she was embracing this flawed mindset, or whether her defeat was simply attributable to the technical side of the sport. However, one thing is for sure, if she did indeed fail to make peace with the possibility of defeat this would have undoubtedly contributed to her downfall.
So, why is making peace with failure so important? And what can you learn from it? And how is all this stuff about mindsets and MMA applicable to relating to women?!?
Allow me to clarify.
Lets get back to the Samurai. Here is a quote from Hagakure, Way of The Samurai:
“If a warrior is not unattached to life and death, he will be of no use whatsoever. The saying that ‘All abilities come from one mind’ sounds as though it has to do with sentient matters, but it is in fact a matter of being unattached to life and death. With such non-attachment one can accomplish any feat.” -Tsunetomo Yamamoto
This sums up the spirit of being open to every possibility. When you are open to every possibility, you are attached to none. Nothing is resisted. And when nothing is resisted, more easily can one attain what they desire.
It is when one outcome is rigidly clung to and another is fought against vigorously that the natural flow of energy and the ability of an individual is compromised beyond measure. No longer is one able to expand to the full range of their capabilities. Instead, they are inhibited, restricted and stifled, a shell of their former self.
And all this is absolutely the case when you go and strike up a conversation with a woman you’re attracted to. If you have some clearly defined measures of what success or failure would be in this situation and you absolutely cling to the hope of success and resist the possibility of failure, you’re interaction will be a shadow of what it might otherwise have been.
Whatever you may have perceived to be success in this case will almost certainly never come to fruition.
Conversely, if you have the desire to connect with a woman but you’re open to the possibility of her shutting you down, of not receiving your presence, of having no interest in you, then and only then will you be absolutely free and fearless in your expression and give yourself the best possible chance of connection.
This isn’t a case of not expecting success. When you strike up a conversation with a woman you should have every expectation that it will go well, but you should also be completely open to the fact that it could just be an awkward and difficult mess. It is this mindset that sets you free, that allows you to be your uninhibited best.
Embrace the way of the Samurai and be unattached to life and death, unattached to success and failure.
Do this and more often you’re authentic genius will shine through in all it’s glory, and whatever outcome you desire will be available to be fulfilled.
Perhaps this is just what Ronda Rousey needed on Saturday night. Regardless, it’s what you need in every endeavour you partake in, including your endeavours with women.
Want to get your dating life handled?Sebastian Callow is a personal dating coach for men in London. Unlike other dating services he provides a practical, real-life coaching experience that actually involves meeting and interacting with women in everyday situations. Sebastian helps men develop the comfort and ease to express themselves with raw honesty. If you're unhappy with your dating life and you're hungry for change, the Personal Coaching Course could be exactly what you need.
Two questions, not related to the article:
Do you recommend quitting masturbation/limiting it (if yes, to how little)? I quit porn a while ago, and after a few weeks I took a girl from the pub home, something that has hardly happened to me before.
How do you make a bar approach seem natural? Like in the situation with the girl I mentioned above it was a very intimate pub, where it was easy to strike up a conversation with anyone sitting next to you. But most pubs/bars are a bit colder, with people standing/sitting in groups. I know from doing daygame that I never really got away from the awkward phase, I always felt weird doing it, like a salesman type. I am wondering how to be more natural about it, particularly in bar situations where it’s not easy to start to talk to someone naturally.
Thanks again for your blog.
I recommend reducing your ejaculations, to be specific. Masturbating and circulating the sexual energy in your body without ejaculating is a good practice (read The Enlightened Sex Manual by David Deida). The amount or frequency that you might ejaculate depends on your age and diet, younger and better diet means you can do it a bit more often. For most guys I think once a week at most is a good recommendation. You might also want to time your ejaculations around periods where you need more sexual energy.
I would say it’s very likely the bar pull and having a high sexual energy were related.
In bars I like to walk up to a group of women with something a little cheeky, like, “Hey, I noticed no one was chatting you guys up, I thought I’d give it a try” with a big, cheeky grin on my face. However, it matters not what you say, but that you’re comfortable saying and doing what you’re doing. Forget about avoiding awkwardness and think about becoming comfortable in uncomfortable situations. When you master this you are free and even the most unnatural of scenarios will feel natural.
A quick follow up question: How do I become comfortable in uncomfortable situations? To use the daygame example again, I never really got rid of the uncomfortable, bad feeling even if I did for close to 100 times (“approaches”). But maybe daygame is not for me. I don’t say it’s wrong to do it for other people… I am thinking about going to bars alone and with friends to actively try to meet girls more often (I have a feeling alone might work better). I have never succeeded when being uncomfortable, so I wonder how to be more comfortable in uncomfortable situations without being drunk ( I must admit many of my past success stories, not they are that many…have happened when I have been really drunk, I wish I could relax more without drinking).
Thanks for your advice on masturbation, I will try to experiment with that.
You get comfortable in uncomfortable situations by acclimatising. The same way you get comfortable with the temperature of a swimming pool by just being in it.
However, if you find that you struggle to acclimatise it may be the case that your beliefs about what you’re doing, rightly or wrongly, have led you to feel that what you’re doing ‘isn’t right’. But if you’re comfortable with your sexuality and you know you’re coming from a place of offering rather than taking, this shouldn’t be a problem.