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Conor McGregor And The Power Of Self Belief

Conor McGregor And The Power Of Self Belief

Self Belief is, to me, the essential first attribute of success. Without true self belief, you have nothing. You may have dreams. You may have ideas. They will never be realised.

Why? Because it’s easier to shelve your dreams and get for work on Monday. If you don’t believe you can do something, you’re not even trying. If you half believe you will put in a half assed effort. You have to REALLY believe.

Arnold Schwarzenegger said if had been normal, he would have been like everybody else and the world would have never heard of him. Get a clerical job in Graz, Austria, meet a girl and raise a family. Pretty much what happens to the people who don’t have enough self belief to pursue big dreams.

But we’re not talking about Arnold today, we’re talking about Conor McGregor. Love him or hate him, most likely you’ve heard his name by now. And that is extraordinary, because although mixed martials has a dedicated following, it’s not a mainstream sport. It’s not like Australian rules football in Australia, baseball in America,  Soccer throughout most of the world. You may not follow soccer, but you’ve still heard of Ronaldo and David Beckham.

The story of Conor is a meteoric rise to stratospheric super stardom.  All in 4 years. Four years ago he was on the dole. He was a young Irish fighter who had some success in a smallish promotion based in London called Cage Warriors.

In the preceding years, he hard started a plumbing apprenticeship, something he lasted 18 months at.

Lucky, isn’t he? He could have been like so many other people like him. A bit of success at the local level, tries to make it. Goes through tough times. Decides to get real and says, “fuck it, I’m going nowhere here” and goes back and asks for his old plumbing job back.

Fortunately for him, he had enough talent as a fighter for him to come to the attention of Dana White, the boss of the UFC, the biggest mixed martial arts promotion in the world. He was signed to the UFC and made his debut in 2013.

Oh, you say. Well there you have it. He got a big break. Er, no. The UFC doesn’t work that way. You have to win and win and win. There are talented fighter lately who have quit the UFC for day jobs, because the purses they are getting simply don’t pay the bills. They don’t pay the cost of the training camp that they have to go to in order to compete.

So no, success was not a forgone conclusion once Conor hit the UFC.  Conor fought and won. But also he started becoming a character; a creation. A showman, a salesman.

People tuned in to watch his fights. You may have been watching to see him win or you may have been watching to see him get his comeuppance. It doesn’t really matter. What matters is that you tuned in. He won world titles in two weight classes. He made more money than any other UFC fighter ever had.

And then he decided to goad the greatest lightweight boxer of his era (many say of all time), Floyd Mayweather, into a fight. A boxing fight. Now the thing is many, many words have now been written about how different the two sports are. It’s like the best squash player in the world challenging the best tennis play in the world to a tennis match.

Despite the unlikely nature of this contest, it happened. Also, despite the naysayers condemning it, it was competitive. Conor took Floyd Mayweather to the 10th round before he succumbed – to the best boxer of his time – by technical knockout. Not only that, he arguably won the first 3 rounds, and hit Mayweather with more punches than anyone except for one other great boxer Canelo Alvarez, a 3 times world boxing champion.

This, by the way, was Conor’s professional boxing debut. Now most boxers who make their professional debut make maybe $500 to $1000. It is estimated that when pay per view money is taken into account, Conor’s earnings from the fight will be over $100 million.

This man has gone from the dole to over $100 million in 4 years. But how? Well he has talent, definitely. He knows how to sell a fight too.

But also, he is a great believer in “The Secret”. You know? That book and video that the naysayers denigrate? Well the naysayers do have a point. If you think that positive thinking will work if you just sit at home alone imagining the things that you want, that is what is known as delusion.

If, however, you want something and you visualise it enough to create a belief that you can get it, then take massive action to get it, that’s another thing.

Self belief is what it takes to get off the couch and actually do stuff to achieve your goals. It goes like this. You have a dream. In Conor’s case a dream of being recognised as the best combat athlete in the world.

This dream becomes a desire. But dream and desires are nothing without belief. If you don’t believe your dreams are achievable, they are not; it’s as simple as that. Many people dream, few achieve.

However, when the desire is believed, and the desire and belief are used to inspire action, things happen. It’s like the fire triangle – oxygen, heat, fuel. Desire, belief, action. You need all three for success.

Belief though, is fundamental.  Desire doesn’t cut it. Without belief, desire is nothing. Desire drives half hearted action. True belief that you can achieve drives full blooded action. Without belief, Conor would have just been a loud mouthed jerk. Instead he is a superstar.

So if you want to achieve anything, start by working on belief. Because once you have a clear belief, it will happen.


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