It’s strange that immediately after I write a blog post, I read it back to myself and think, ‘Gee, maybe I could use some of this advice myself!’

So often, I find myself falling back into the same bad habits I constantly warn others about.

One particular issue I face occasionally is getting stuck in the rut of overthinking before I embark on a new initiative.

It stems from the obsessive nature of preparation that I honed during my career as a UFC fighter. The compulsion of having to dot every I and cross every T.

Maybe it’s a 15-year hangover from training camps and extensive preparation, film study, drills and countless sparring sessions.

Or it seems a lot safer and comfortable deluding myself into thinking I should be “more prepared”.

Starting is the hardest part of everything.

Looking back at my competitive years in the UFC, I realize how much I miss fighting.

Say what you want about fighting, but you’re either responding, reacting or getting beat.

All the gameplan and “thinking on your feet” doesn’t do a lick when you got fists, elbows, flying knees and all kinds of body appendages thrown at you.

You better do something. Fast.

Fighting forces you into motion just like how taking action is such a key principle in life.

Without that first step, you’ll never get anything going.

Want to start that YouTube channel?

You know what, I better go research how to ‘crack the algorithm’ first.

Thinking about going on a 30-day training program with friends?

Hmm, now’s not the right time but let’s do it after Mardi Gras!

There are a thousand reasons to not do something. But all you really need is one good reason to start.

Most, if not all fighters that I know, hate leaving a fight to the judges.

I’ve always aimed to finish every fight decisively. 

And this really demonstrates just how much a fighting career promotes a bias for action. 

Be it defense or offense, you develop a reflex to get things moving. 

In ONE Championship’s scoring, fighters are rewarded for being aggressive.

You need to be pushing the pace, trying to go for the finish.

Being passive and hesitant hardly ever makes for a good or exciting match, regardless of your skill or ability.

Unfortunately, when it comes to our dreams or ideas, there can sometimes be little to no consequence to lollygagging.

And so last year’s resolutions become this new year’s resolutions.

A bias for action is so important to achieving success or making any significant progress towards your goals.

In fact, Amazon lists bias for action as one of its key leadership principles. 

Speed matters in business. Many decisions and actions are reversible and do not need extensive study. We value calculated risk taking.

When there are real-world implications, like in business, being decisive is crucial.

The other day, I came across an interesting excerpt from a letter that painter Vincent Van Gogh once wrote.

‘If one wants to be active, one mustn’t be afraid to do something wrong sometimes, not afraid to lapse into some mistakes. You don’t know how paralyzing it is, that stare from a blank canvas that says to the painter you can’t do anything. Many painters are afraid of the blank canvas, but the blank canvas IS AFRAID of the truly passionate painter who dares — and who has once broken the spell of “you can’t.’

Vincent Van Gogh, Ever Yours: The Essential Letters

I can’t help but notice the similarities between ‘canvas’ and ‘octagon’. These are powerful metaphors that really highlight the nature of our sport – it’s a fight.

Nothing galvanizes you into action better than getting into an early scrap once the bell sounds.

I mean, people literally kick things off in the octagon, no pun intended.

When you get into a sequence – wrestling, BJJ or exchange of punches – it’s a momentous shift in mindset. Fight or flight.

For so many other endeavors in life, we have the luxury of sitting back, waiting, and deliberating. 

We convince ourselves it’s the tactical and strategic move. Chess not checkers right?

All the while not realizing we’ve fallen victim to the blank canvas. 

Paralysis by analysis.

I learned that you’re never “ready” to become a Champion.

There’s no checklist or pre-requisite. 

You don’t graduate into a World Championship.

You earn it through your own actions. 

Your cornermen can’t help you.

Your coaches and sparring partners are spectators.

It’s all on you.

Locked inside a cage with an opponent across from you.

During my TEDTalk, I shared how my experiences in the Travis Lutter fight really showed the power of choice.

You can make a good decision and come away unscathed.

You could make a bad decision and have to fight your way out from an armbar as I did against Lutter.

Or you could make the worse decision, which is no decision at all.

Now, it’s your move. 

What are you gonna do?