One of the more surprising facts about my career as a pro MMA fighter is just how unsurprising it was.
Well, that’s not to take away from several high points, which included becoming a three-time World Champion and a UFC Hall Of Famer.
That aside, I was more known for my discipline and respected for my professionalism. Maintaining a low profile and having shunned the spotlight, my career went by without any major controversy.
The younger generation of sports fans – accustomed to the negative attention that some athletes today can command – might mistake me for being boring or bland.
Not that I mind.
Here’s a fact. I never took a sip of alcohol in my life.
Doesn’t quite jump off the page, does it?
Anyhow, I’m assuming some might simply attribute this abstinence to my steadfast discipline towards nutrition and diet.
To say I avoided alcohol because of discipline would not be fair, as I never felt the inclination to booze. On the other hand, there were days on a strict diet where I very much craved a cupcake. To ignore the hunger pangs and carry on? Yes, that took discipline.
Alcohol? Not so much.
Besides, being raised in the Christian faith, I had grown wise to the many sermons warning about the dangers of the bottle.
I’ll be the first to admit, had I been an alcoholic, mustering the willpower and discipline to say no might have been quite the struggle.
But because I was such a goal oriented individual and driven to become the best athlete I could be, I never cared much for smoking or taking drugs. Discipline was a non-issue.
Through my days of growing up in poverty-stricken neighborhoods and around a McDonalds diet, I understood that neither junk food nor recreational drugs were amenable to my ambitions of becoming a professional athlete.
Rather than needing to fight those urges, I also decided early on that drinking was equally counterproductive to my goals and promptly eliminated it from my routine.
A stickler for routine, I believe more so in habits than discipline. That’s not to discount the importance of having discipline but I discovered that good daily habits, and subsequently well established routines were far more effective in keeping away any distractions.
Coming back to the statement I made earlier about younger fans possibly labelling me as a bore, I’d go further and say I was effectively boring.
There is strong proof I parlayed that label into a career. While never lauded for my athleticism or praised for a dynamic arsenal of moves, I hung tough with the best in the world and on more occasions than not, left the octagon with my hand raised.
So effectively boring that once I had my diet and training routines in place, they became the singular focus of my daily existence.
Ask anyone who has ever experienced a sliver of success and they will almost certainly claim that universally instrumental to their achievements are obsession, sacrifice and goal setting.
Testament to my routine and dedication, and in no small part thanks to God’s presence, I reached what many consider to be the pinnacle of my sport – becoming an MMA World Champion three times over.
Instead of expending energy and effort to remain disciplined against negative impulses or unhealthy desires, I believe in setting firm goals and consequently creating powerful habits as part of a routine.
Don’t underestimate just how effective positive habits can be in creating a seamless routine. Before you realize it, discipline is already an afterthought.
Surprised? Give it a try and maybe you will become effectively boring, just like I was.