Time is the most precious resource.
As we get older, we begin to appreciate how important time is. Whether it’s for relationships or money, there are moments when we all wish we could have gone back in time and done things differently.
Even in business or sports, time is also an instrumental part of many success stories.
According to data from Fightmatrix, half of the fights in the UFC don’t make it to the final bell.
A fight can be over in just a few seconds.
13 seconds was all it took for a left-handed unorthodox southpaw in Connor McGregor to knockout Jose Aldo and become the new UFC Featherweight Champion.
Remember Masvidal vs. Askren? It’s still a blur to be honest.
In math, we use inflection points to reflect the points on a curve where the function changes dramatically – from being concave up to concave down.
It signals a shift in momentum.
In some of the greatest success stories in business and finance, there are inflection points that precipitate powerful change.
This applies to sports as well.
In comparison to the actual title fight, an entire UFC event can take anywhere between four to six hours.
We’re talking early prelim, prelims, main card. Walkthroughs, training camp, press conference, weigh ins.
I would spend days, weeks, and months preparing for a title fight. Everything for a 5-round x 5-minute fight.
25 minutes is all you have to make a name for yourself or leave an impression.
Imagine everything you’ve worked for, and it all comes down to less than half an hour.
Career defining moments have been made under comparatively less time.
The Ancient Greeks used the terms Chronos and Kairos to describe time.
Chronos refers to time as how we understand it – a chronological sequence of equal units – hours, minutes and seconds.
On the other hand, Kairos describes that not all time is equal. Depending on the moment, one could be more valuable than the other.
Going back to my previous example, a UFC fight can end in a variety of ways.
Sometimes it’s a long-drawn-out battle, as you fight your way out of hooks and clinches near the fence.
Other times, a quick overhand catches you unaware and knocks you out.
Circumstances constantly change during a fight and opportunities can arise at different times. These pivotal moments are like inflection points, which if used correctly can swing the match in your favor.
Kairos refers to these opportune moments that can occur anytime along a chronological sequence. It’s about timing and understanding how to take advantage of critical moments.
But even though there are key moments present throughout a fight, you don’t always know when they occur.
During my fight camps, we would drill specific scenarios based on film study of my opponent.
While my preparation was focused on a singular opponent, we trained for as many situations as possible to counter all angles of attack.
If a fight could end inside the first minute of the first round, it could also potentially turn into a grueling three-rounder. You never know.
So, you train to make sure you can go the distance if it ever comes gets to that. A window of a few seconds in a long fight can be the Kairos that makes all the difference. You must be able to last till then to take advantage of the opportunity if it comes late.
You can apply the concept of Kairos to other aspects of life. The general principle applies – not everything is of equal importance.
Being able to identify where to invest your time and energy is crucial to your mental and physical wellbeing.
Think about some of the biggest arguments you’ve had. Ever wish you could have gone back in time and done things differently?
Perhaps you felt like you could have said a little less.
Or maybe if you held your tongue and waited for the right moment, there might have been a time where you could have made a convincing point.
Over the course of my fighting career, I must have had dozens of matches. Yet, there were a few that truly defined my career.
Knocking out Shamrock on the inaugural season finale of the Ultimate Fighter officially put me on the map.
I definitely made the most of my chance, but I too recognized I was fortunate in that regard.
Kairos was also a factor in my success, especially if you consider the explosion of cable and Spike TV during the time.
Furthermore, mixed martial arts was slowly getting traction and it needed a PR boost to get eyeballs and ratings.
Naturally, this was a role that fell to me, and I aced that opportunity and made the most of it.
The rest is history.
What were the Kairos moments you’ve encountered and what happened?
Share them in the comments!