If you have competed before, most likely you have noticed that you have more focus, discipline with your training, and diet when you are getting ready for competitions. This helps with the process of developing and refining your jiu-jitsu game. For those who have never competed before, they may ask: “That’s it? Refine my game? What else can I gain from competing?”
Well, it all depends on your perceptions and opinions. Those are some of the benefits of competing, but another benefit that is often forgotten and neglected is how jiu-jitsu competitions, with the proper guidance, can be an amazing personal development tool. Competitions teach you valuable lessons that can be beneficial on and off the mat. You learn a lot about yourself when you are under pressure in situations like a tournament. You learn how to control your emotions, be comfortable in uncomfortable situations, and how to become more mentally prepared to overcome adversities, failures, and all the “curveballs” that life throws at you when you least expect them.
Don’t self limit
If you are a competitor or aspiring competitor, you might be fighting internal battles that no one knows about -only you know!
Asking questions like: “What if I lose? I don’t want to disappoint anybody”, or “Can I beat him/or her? Am I good enough?” are only a few common self-limiting beliefs that might be holding you back from performing to the best of your ability and preventing you from even signing up for a tournament because you are allowing your mind to control you, instead of you controlling your mind. Oftentimes, negative patterns such as fear of failure, fear of disappointing others, and perfectionism that have been holding you back in jiu-jitsu, might be holding you back in your personal and professional life. Your job is to find the source of the issue and do something about it.
I’m going to share with you three steps that can help you with the process of discovering what is holding you back from being the best version of yourself.
Do you think about what you think about?
Before I give you the three steps, I would like you to think about the question “Do you think about what you think about?” The reason I ask is because we often get so caught up in the rat race of our lives that we function in autopilot mode; we don’t stop to think about what we think about. When you do realize what you think about, you will realize that you have a lot more negative thoughts than you ever expected. Researchers say that human beings have an average of fifty to sixty thousand thoughts per day, and seventy to eighty percent of them are negative. We don’t realize how often we criticize and judge not only others (“that guy is out of shape…that girl is wearing a horrible t-shirt…”) but mainly ourselves: “Am I good enough? What if I don’t succeed?” It’s so automatic that we don’t even realize the internal damage this can cause.
With that said, your first step to locating what could be holding you back from performing to the best of your ability on and off the mat is:
Step # 1: Think about what you think about! You must be aware of your negative thoughts, doubts, insecurities, and assumptions caused by your “Dark Passenger”. Who is the Dark Passenger? It’s the voice that tells you all your negative patterns. This voice will be with you for the rest of your life, but the good news is that you can learn how to control it, and the first step is self-awareness. When you notice a wave of negative thoughts, you must stop, take a deep breath and use the second step:
Challenge The Thought
Step # 2: For example:
“What if I don’t succeed? I don’t want to disappoint anybody. ”. You need to challenge this thought: Is this a rational or irrational thought? Do I have control or no control of it? So let’s analyze it….
Do you have control of the outcome of your challenge (i.e. tournament, job interview)? NO. Do you have control of the expectations that others may have of you? NO! You’re making an assumption based on the story that you’re telling yourself. Now that you are aware of the issue, you are aware of what you can and cannot control, you need to take the third step:
Make a Decision
Step # 3: Are you going to stick with the thought that is going to help you to move towards your goal? Or the thought that is going to hold you back and move you away from your goal? If you choose the first option, you must focus on things that you can control, for example, if you are in a warm-up area getting ready to compete, the only thing that you can focus on is your performance. You can repeat affirmations such as: “My goal is to perform to the best of my ability and be the best version of myself with the tools and knowledge that I have right now.” Sometimes your best is enough to win, sometimes it’s not, but at least you are at peace with yourself and in knowing that you truly did the best you could.
Don’t let your negative self-limiting beliefs prevent you from living your life to its fullest, to accept new challenges, and to enjoy your life’s journey. There is a great book called “The Top Five Regrets of the Dying, A Life Transformed by the Dearly Departing”, written by Bronnie Ware, where she mentions that the most common regret of all when people realize that their lives are almost over is: “I wish I’d had the courage to live a life true to myself, not the life others expected of me.”
If competing is something that you would like to try, do it! If you want to keep competing, do it! If you have a goal or dream that you would like to go after -do it! Because life is too short to worry about what others think of you. Now, use these three steps every day and you will notice a great amount of personal growth on and off the mat. What is holding YOU back? Think about that.