Thursday, February 07, 2013

Words of inspiration from a fighter

I've never been a big fan of team sports. I'm from North Carolina, so I'm legally obligated to have a favorite college basketball team (Duke) but really I'm a fan of the individual athlete. For one thing, individual sports tend to have fewer rules for me to try to remember.

My favorite sport is easily MMA, which you know if you follow my Twitter feed at all. There's a lot to love about the sport. It's more than just two guys beating each other up. It's a battle of wills and strategy where on any given day, a fat guy can knock out an Adonis with one well-placed overhand right. One fighter can be winning round after round, but he slips up for half a second and suddenly he finds himself tapping out in a triangle choke. There's a lot more intelligence involved in an MMA fight than most people realize.

Dana White, who runs the UFC, has a saying: "Never leave it in the hands of the judges." He means, knock the guy out or submit him. Don't count on points to save you. Don't calculate, beat his ass.

I always think about that when I go to write a script. It's obviously not so cut and dry in writing, but you can always go into writing something with the attitude that you will knock it out of the fucking park. Don't calculate the points, submit that son of a bitch.

And that was fine until this last week's Ultimate Fighter. Coach Chael Sonnen gave an amazing speech about failure that kind of blew me away. One of his fighters who is an amazing talent, expressed doubt about his skills. After giving the kid a pep talk, he sat for a moment alone with the camera and said the following:

"When doubt seeps in, you've got two roads.  You can take either road.  You can go to the left or you can go to the right, and believe me, they’ll tell you failure’s not an option.  That is ridiculous. Failure is always an option.  Failure is the most readily available option at all times.  But it’s a choice.  You can choose to fail, you can choose to succeed.  And if we can plant seeds and let him know 'Move your feet, keep your hands up, stay off the bottom,' that is the road to victory.  Or -  self-doubt and negative talk.  And that is the road to failure.  But failure is always there, and it’s okay to recognize that."

Failure is always an option. There's a moment where you decide whether or not it's the option you're going to take. You can wallow in it, or you can accept it as a possibility and then move on to figure out what you need to do next.


  1. Hey, Emilly. How's it going?

    Another amazing post. Full of encouragement and hope. I think we all need tons of this as soon as we open our eyes in the morning.

    I stumbled upon your blog, and I've been following you ever since. I can only say "THANK YOU" for all these great texts that you put up here.

    See you

    1. Thanks for saying so! I try to be helpful when I can.


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