Last night I got sucked into a replay and recap of the first episode of The Ultimate Fighter 17. 28 dudes fighting for 14 spots on the show, from all walks of life, having gone through all manner of hardship to get to this point, with high hopes that this will change their lives, pay their bills and make their families proud. This all makes for a very emotionally charged show, with many moments of triumph paired with heartbreak and disappointment. It’s why I love shows like this, boxings 24/7 and sports docos like ESPN’s 30 for 30, because we see all the talk, all the work and all the belief, but ultimately it ends with a winner and a loser. It is equal measures sobering and inspirational.
Here are a few things that stuck with me from that episode :
1. Actions, not emotions, get things done.
This was actually from a preview of an up-coming episode, where team coach and contender for the light heavyweight championship, Chael Sonnen, was hyping up his team – and I loved what he said, as quoted below from Fightland :
“So many times we try to find the right emotion. What emotion is going to help you?” At this point Sonnen held up both his fists. “This is what helps you. Forward motion, getting your legs back, getting up off the bottom, working the whole time: Those are actions. Not one of those was an emotion. Anger, happiness, sad, fear, scared: Not one of those is going to get a judge to mark your name.” Sonnen lifted his fists again. “This is what marks your name. Actions.”
Sure, he’s talking about actions in the ring, but that can be applied to how we get things done in life too. Emotions might be the driving force behind what we do, but the doing is the key. Being frustrated or angry that we’re not where we want to be in life is fine. But it’s the actions you put to work after that, that count, and that get you places.
2. We’ve all overcome something to get where we are, and just because we feel like we deserve to win, doesn’t mean we will.
That’s not meant to be as depressing as it might sound. It was crazy hearing all the different hard-knock-life stories of the contestants, and how much they needed to win, how much they felt like life owed them one, only to be beaten by someone stronger, more experienced, and more skilled.
I suppose this just stuck with me because it’s easy to feel like you deserve something just because you’ve struggled along the way, but it’s important to remember that there are other people out there who want exactly the same thing, who are also struggling and who are probably working harder than you and are therefore more deserving. It all comes back to that point about actions vs emotions – hard-work trumps the hard-done-bys.
3. People will under-estimate you. Let them. Then beat them later.
TUF season 17 is already over, so while watching the first episode I already knew who the last four fighters were. SPOILER ALERT : GC based-kiwi, Dylan Andrews made it through to the 14 places on the show, only to be the last picked for the teams. It was incredibly satisfying to watch him shrug this off, pleased that he was chosen last because he said it meant he could fly under the radar and surprise them later. Satisfying because I knew he, as the shows biggest under-dog, made it all the way to semi-finals.
Being overlooked can be frustrating, but use that as motivation to prove the nay-sayers wrong, exceeding expectations will be such sweet vindication.