So you’ve decided to be great and built up your confidence to pull you through. What happens next? It’s time to change your life to get what you want. If you want to be great, you have to change your life and change yourself. I don’t know how long it’ll take you but I do know you can start being great TODAY.
It’s hard to imagine that you can be great in just one day but I’ll show you exactly how I did it.
Why change your life?
You have to change your life because you ARE your life. You cannot change yourself by living the same life over and over. The most unsuccessful people in the world are the ones who stayed the same all lifelong. The successful ones are the ones that kept changing. Change is challenging and scary and tiring, but it’s the only way to become better than what you are now. If you have the will and sacrifice to change, you can become greater than you ever imagined.
By why are some people so afraid of change? I can only think of 2 reasons:
REASON #1 – they don’t want to change their lives
Maybe they’re already successful or they don’t know what they want. Or they’re scared or they don’t like change. I think it’s the craziest thing to hate change. If you hate change, it means your goal sucks. I have never met a person who didn’t want something better than what they had now.
I’m not talking about making lots of money and driving fancy cars. I’m talking in a spiritual sense as in being more alive and contributing and enjoying life more within your true destiny. Some people make it sound as though change is difficult and not fun and not exciting. To them I say it is YOUR GOAL that is difficult and not fun/exciting. Go find a new job or new girlfriend or new ambition that makes you WANT to change. Live life to its fullest, ok?
Some people WANT to change but they don’t want to change 100%. Some people will try to be great by changing 98% but this doesn’t work! Unfortunately, the laws of the universe don’t work this way. If I’m wearing a business suit and I want to go running, I will have to change my outfit entirely if I want to be a successful runner. I can’t just ADD running shoes, I actually have to change COMPLETELY into a running outfit. Maybe my analogy sucks but my point is: you only have some much time and energy in your life. If you try to divide it, neither area will be AS successful.
I’ve heard fantastic excuses and reasons for not changing 100%. If this is you, then you can stop reading because you obviously don’t want it that bad anyways. Without that true desire inside, you will never give enough of yourself to become a success. You may be talented enough to achieve something but you will never reach your true potential.
REASON #2 – they don’t know how
If you got this problem–GOOD. This article is for you. Keep reading because changing your life is pretty easy if you want to do it.
How to Change Your Life
Make conscious decisions.
STEP #1 – Become Conscious
The first step is to know where you are in your life. Next is to know where you want to be. Then you want to see if you’re headed there. So many people realize they’re unhappy but many don’t know where they want to be or don’t know how to head in the right direction. Your first step is to become conscious of things that affect your life!
Most likely everything–and I do mean EVERYTHING–that happens to you will affect your life. You may not realize it but it is. The way that you wrap your hands, the people you greet first at the gym, the direction you face when you stretch, the friends you have, the music you listen to…EVERYTHING YOU DO affects your life. You can live like a zombie and just be a reaction of the environment around you or you can wake up and start altering as many variables as you can to give yourself the best chance in life.
The more conscious you are, the more alive you are.
The more alive you are, the more control you have over your life.
The more control you have, the more power you have to change it into what you want!
Want to be great? WAKE UP!
STEP#2 – Make Conscious Decisions
Only when you are finally awake are you able to realize all the ways that you can influence your life. By becoming conscious you can start accepting responsibility for everything that happens.
Instead of saying, “My opponent is so strong that I can’t fight back.”
- You can say, “I can improve my skills, even if I lose.”
Instead of saying, “My coach sucks so I suck.”
- You can say, “I can find a better coach.”
Instead of saying, “There are no boxing gyms in my neighborhood.”
- You can say, “I will create a million dollar empire and move into a great neighborhood and hire the best damn boxing trainers!”
Hey, some of these are pretty damn hard if not impossible. I never said change was easy, but at least you can be conscious and find a way to make a great decisions. No more sitting around and acting like you don’t have control over your life.
You have to accept responsibility for your life!
YOU HAVE TO ACCEPT RESPONSIBILITY FOR EVERYTHING THAT HAPPENS TO YOU! No more blaming shit on bad parents, bad coaches, bad genes, bad luck. Take responsibility for the time and energy that you have now and direct it towards what you want. If you can’t do at least that, you don’t have the right to complain. I’m not asking you to work 100%, I’m asking you to LIVE 100%. Yes, LIVE, make great decisions that take you where you want to be. We take the path of greatness not because we sadistically love hard work and suffering but because we love challenging and living to the best of our ability.
The secret is to decide on everything. Starting today, you can begin making your decisions that affect YOUR life. Don’t wait and let outside people and outside influences affect your life. The only time you let others decide for you is when they know better than you.
How to Make Great Decisions
It all comes down to great decisions! Once you’ve decided on something with great conviction, there is nothing that can stop you. Notice that I did not say “right decisions”, I said “great decisions!”
Great decisions come from
always keeping your goal in mind.
Everytime you decide on anything, have your goal in mind. Before you decide on ANYTHING, ask yourself, “Will this decision take me closer or farther to my goal?” You can apply this rule to EVERY DECISION that you make.
When you set your alarm clock to wake up the next day, you need to ask yourself…”What time should I set my clock if I want to be a great champion?” Maybe you originally thought of waking up at 11am or no specific time at all but now that you questioned yourself, you gave yourself an opportunity to make a great decision! You get to say to yourself, “I WANT TO BE GREAT. I’m gonna wake up at 7am on Saturday so I can go for a run.”
Then the next morning when you put on your running shoes, you ask yourself, “How long should I run for if I want to become champion?” Maybe you don’t know the answer so you go reading up on google and see that the answer is 3 miles. Is that the right distance? Is it too long or too short? Are you even wearing the right shoes? Are you running the most challenging path in your neighborhood? Are you drinking enough water?
But you can’t just end there, you have to keep questioning yourself with everything that you do during the day. When you get hungry and think of something to eat, maybe you can eat something that will help you towards your goal. When you get bored and watch videos on youtube, maybe you can watch something entertaining that will help you towards your goal. When you hang out with friends, you have to decide how they might potentially be distracting you from your goals. There are so many things that might not seem to matter but they all add up. Everything you do is somehow forming habits or statistical outcomes that could potentially affect your future. You can start making conscious decisions by questioning EVERYTHING that you do.
It doesn’t matter so much that you have all the right answers. It matters that you were conscious enough to care and think about all these previously unnoticed variables. With a constant conscious, you will eventually become more aware and discover the right answers for yourself.
How I changed my life
There was a time when I wanted so badly to improve my balance & footwork. I was sick of falling over during sparring matches or losing my balance for almost no reason. I didn’t know where to begin and didn’t even know that my balance was bad. All I knew was that I was falling around a lot.
I started easy at first. I asked coaches for tips on stance and balance and footwork. It helped but I was still getting knocked off balance. Then I started training harder and spending more time on conditioning my lower body. That helped too but it didn’t give me the results I wanted. I didn’t feel like I had control of my balance. Being a very athletic guy, I was frustrated by this crippling disadvantage.
Next, I started adjusting my technique, punching softer and leaning in less. I kept thinknig to myself “BALANCE BALANCE BALANCE” throughout an entire sparring match. I tried moving around less, then moving around more, and altering my stance in every way. I would watch videos on Youtube and try copying one fighter, and then another fighter, and then another. Everything I tried gave me a different result but never the result I wanted.
…and then something happened—I decided to make it my LIFE’S GOAL to improve my balance at ANY COST.
Things got serious when I made this ultimate sacrifice. My obsession with balance started to consume me. I wasn’t a fighter thinking about balance anymore. I had become some sort of monster fueled by a raging thirst for more balance. I was previously only working hard in the boxing gym but now I was willing to change my life. I didn’t realize it at the time but this would be the moment that changed my life forever.
Every minute of everyday, I kept asking myself the same question over and over, “Will this improve my balance?” I asked it when I chose what foods to buy at the super market. I asked it before deciding not to go hang out with friends so I could stay home to work on some balance drills. I asked it before deciding whether to take the elevator or walk up the stairs. When I parked my car, I purposely parked farther away so I could do balance drills while walking up to the store. Even when I brushed my teeth, I thought about how I could stand to improve my balance. This conscious goal would alter every decision I made during the day. Little by little, this conscious awareness was changing my life.
Some of you may think I’m already crazy but this was still only the beginning.
I started looking around on the internet to find every aspect of balance that I could. I watched gymnasts, dancers, circus performers, street performers, athletes, etc. I watched videos of little girls jumping around the dance floor and spinning on one foot, sometimes even on ONE TOE! It was frustrating to see chinese monks stand on top of elevated columns UPSIDE DOWN ON THEIR HEADS. I thought to myself “IF THEY CAN STAND ON THEIR HEAD, surely I can stand on two feet!”
I read books and researched information online. While out in public, I paid attention to the way people walked. I watched how cats walked and jump gracefully around over my neighbors’ fences. I stood as much as possible to practice being on my feet longer. I once pulled over while driving home from work to watch a ballet class through the window.
I asked friends from all different sports for balance advice (fencing, wrestling, judo, tae kwon do, etc). I asked my brother, a famous dancer, for balance tips. He blew me away with a whole range of knowledge. I remember one time he told me, “dude, your feet are weak. YES, YOUR FEET! It doesn’t matter how strong your legs are: if your feet aren’t strong enough to grip the floor, you won’t be able to apply leg strength to keep yourself up. It’s like having a strong chest but weak forearm muscles; it would weaken your bench press.” And then he would give me a set of exercises to increase the grip strength of my feet. This pattern of discovery would continue OVER A HUNDRED MORE TIMES over the course of a year. I learned a whole new range of core exercises that make boxing core exercises seem like a joke.
I left no rock unturned in my quest for better balance. I asked everybody and anybody who had an opinion on where good balance comes from. I had to keep changing the way I thought about balance. Outdated balance theories were replaced by newer and more thought provoking ones on a weekly basis.
I was trying all sorts of crazy things.
- stand on a basketball while talking on the phone (sometimes over 30 minutes).
- stand on one foot and closed my eyes every time I brushed my teeth.
- stand on a flipped over bosu ball every time I wrapped my hands at the gym.
- wore ankle weights for 60 days straight! (even while sleeping, in the bathroom, out with friends, EVERYWHERE)
- learned over 10 new ways to walk (developing different muscles and different styles of movement).
- walking barefoot around a rubber track for 2 hours.
- did handstands every 30 minutes at home
- standing on one leg frequently at home (while washing dishes, doing laundry, reading books, etc.)
- slept on the floor with no pillow for over a year (to straighten my spine)
- sat on a medicine ball (avoiding all chairs with backs) for 2 years
- Don’t be fooled by this modest list! I tried over a hundred things in addition to the usual boxing footwork exercises.
I wasn’t a crybaby making excuses about being born with bad balance. But I also wasn’t an over-confident bragger claiming to one day have the best balance in the world. I was simply a guy looking to improve himself by any means necessary–no less, no more. I didn’t know when I would get there; I only knew that I would get very far by working very hard.
I had become a changed (and slightly possessed ;)) man. I don’t know when it happened but I eventually had the best balance & footwork in the gym. I also had a newfound respect for fighters that somehow managed to have good balance despite never going through what I did. I didn’t feel jealous that they achieved the same with much less effort. Moreso I felt so lucky that it was possible for me to be better than them through hard work.
I had more respect and acceptance for myself. When you work so hard on something, you come to love it even if it’s not perfect. When I see someone wish they were better or wish that they were someone else…I think to myself, “You would NEVER wish that if you had invested some real effort in yourself.”
When I paint a picture, I prefer to have it over an expensive masterpiece even if mine is less amazing. I love my painting because it is my work. When you work hard on yourself you will realize the same. You will love yourself not because you are the best but because you put your best effort into it. And once you prefer your own work over someone elses, you have in fact become great.
Your life should be your work.
If you don’t love your life,
it is because someone else influenced it
more than you did.
Greatness is in the journey, not the goal
I wish I could say this was only the story of my enduring quest for better balance, but in reality it mirrored all my attempts to improve myself. Similar things happened when I tried to increase my endurance, my punching power, my boxing technique, everything! Everytime I tried to improve, I made a complete fool of myself. I still remember the time somebody told me I didn’t know how to breathe, can you imagine hearing that as a trophy-winning athlete? Everytime I thought I knew something somebody stepped in and showed me I didn’t know shit about boxing or life or even greatness.
All the hard work I spent didn’t make me the most balanced fighter, but it did make me an absolute beast. It doesn’t matter what I do now. If I want something, I tear right through it and easily outwork everybody along the way. Once you have a system for being great, you can reuse it for anything else you like and have everything you ever wanted in life.
How do you know you’re making the right decisions?!
How do you know you’re living the right way? How do you know that your training is preparing you for future championships? Nothing is a mistake, it’s all part of a learning process called life. Nobody knows for sure that what you’re doing is the best thing to do. But the fact that you tried and you took charge of your life, you now have control of yourself and it’s only a matter of time before you figure out the exact settings to become great.
I’d say 90% of the things I tried were an absolute waste of time. But the other 10%, that really helped. And 2% of it made me better than everybody else. Finding this 2% made the useless 90% worthwhile. This 2% of greatness is the reason why you should give 100% in everything. My journey for better balance wasn’t easy but I have the best footwork in my gym today because I kept trying. I am by no means a balance expert but I’m very proud of my effort. I know that I’ve worked hard and I’m glad to finally be in the right direction.
Only when you’ve done absolutely everything you can, are you ever allowed the right to ASK for greatness. Even today, I realize there are so many things I haven’t done yet in my life. Knowing this makes me content to stay humble and know that I haven’t earned my right to be great yet. I just keep working hard knowing that I’m getting closer.
Greatness Begins Today
Every decision you make throughout your day is potentially bringing you one step closer or farther from your goal. If you’re conscious of this, you can change your life, change yourself, and BECOME THE SUCCESS that you want. Or you can sit around forever, following somebody else’s instructions and wondering why you have to wait forever for success.
Treat success as a direction, a constant effort,
and not as an end goal.
You can be great starting today.
A great champion was champion long before his victory, before the fight had even begun. He becomes a champion in the way that he coaches himself and takes charge of his life. He was champion because of the the way his mind affects his reality.
My brother once said to me, “Don’t wait for greatness. Live your life like you ARE a champion. Train like one, act like one, BE a champion. Live your life so that everyone around you says, “You know what? The only thing he’s missing is a title belt.”
Read the other parts of this series:
- How to Be Great, Part 1: Deciding to Be Great
- How to Be Great, Part 2: Strengthen the Mind
- How to Be Great, Part 4: Avoid Negative Energy
- How to Be Great, Part 5: Dealing with Failure