What does it mean to live a good life?
The answer might vary depending on whom you ask. But most people believe that keeping certain rules helps them stay grounded and live meaningful lives.
I try every day to live according to my faith. Although I’m hardly the judge of what exactly constitutes a good life, I can only speak on what has continued to work for me.
I’ll share some of these rules and to give some background, weave in personal stories when I can.
Get rich but don’t die trying
I break out a chuckle whenever I talk about this.
I’m Rich, and I literally fought for a living. So there’s that.
When I was challenging for the UFC Middleweight title, I was making similar strides in different fields outside the octagon.
I opened several businesses – a juice bar, ran my own clothing line – invested in others, and learned how to become financially independent.
There were challenges, but I never made my pursuit of money the end goal. I didn’t need tons of money.
Living on SNAP assistance when I was younger, I just wanted to make sure I could live comfortably now.
While I wasn’t fabulously wealthy by any stretch of the imagination, I’m grateful my career as a professional athlete helped me escape the poverty in which I grew up.
Money isn’t everything. Being rich is so much more than that.
You can be spiritually fulfilled, mentally sound, physically whole and materially wealthy.
This brings me to my next rule.
You can have whatever you want, just not all at once
Yeah, if it sounds too good to be true, it probably is. Being all of the above, physically, mentally, spiritually, and materially well off is a dream.
It’s not possible, at least that I know of, to have everything you want, all at the same time.
Something must give. Either way, it’s about sacrifices.
Some of the best athletes are flawed. The will to be great can come at an equally great cost.
Tom Brady – widely regarded as the greatest quarterback in NFL history – announced his unretirement to come back and play for the 23rd season.
To truly become the greatest, you have to invest 100%.
Like I’ve always said, there are no part-time champions.
You have to be all in.
Every athlete knows this.
Unfortunately, his return came at the expense of family.
I’ve lost time with family because I was so focused on building my career in the UFC.
You can’t be the consummate professional, star athlete, model husband and caring family man all at the same time.
Trying to be everything at once will take its toll.
Embrace the hurt
Almost everything good comes from some kind of hurt or pain.
Want to build muscle? You must overload the muscle and fatigue it. Expect soreness and discomfort.
Thinking about finally clearing the air over a misunderstanding? If so, you’re going to need to have that difficult conversation.
Avoiding pain by pursuing pleasure is only a temporary refuge.
When you shy away from pain and hurt, you lose the chance to develop, mature and grow.
With risk comes reward. It’s always been this way.
The greatest in the world, irrespective of their chosen field or profession, are defined by their struggles through adversity.
With wealth, you shoulder the pain of more responsibilities.
With fame, you inherit the pain of living up to many different expectations.
With love, you risk the pain of heartbreak and emotional attachment.
Life is not easy, and it’s only going to get harder.
Don’t get comfortable because staying in your comfort zone gets you nowhere.
Fight the pain and use it as your guide.
Push through and emerge a stronger and better you.
You vs. you
Don’t bother benchmarking yourself against others.
I may have fought against the best in the UFC, but I was competing against myself in every training and sparring session.
When I finally had the Middleweight title belt around my waist, I finally got the chance to compete against a champion – myself.
You are your own harshest critic and greatest competitor.
The biggest obstacle we need to overcome is ourselves.
Are you better today than you were yesterday?
Progress isn’t always linear.
There will be days when you won’t feel quite right.
Other times, you get out of bed with a spring in your step.
No matter, seize each day to improve one aspect of your life.
It can be something simple.
Like being a more attentive spouse and offering to do the dishes after dinner.
Or it could be a challenge.
Like squeezing out one more rep on your last set of squats.
Even in the worst moments, you can find opportunities to learn and grow.
A good life is what you make of it. It comes down to you vs. you.