What will it take. . . to feel accomplished when your head hits the pillow? To feel energized by your relationships? To feel fulfilled at the end of your working day?
Personally, I truly believe it takes a ton of days that feel like your are heading in the opposite direction of fulfillment and happiness. It took me over two years of solo travel, days alone moving from apartment to hotel, from the hotel to a couch, and often times nights spent sleeping in the gym to train or to teach the next morning
If you want to get straight to the Three Factors of Becoming an Elite Human, you can scroll down now until you see the list. Though. . . I highly suggest you read the story to enhance your connection with each point, to gain insight into the person of whose words you are reading. I aim to model behavior, to tell you about the strategies I have implemented and the results I have gone through first hand. What I do not aim for, is to serve you with surface BS where you go on about your day with temporary inspiration because I simplified the process for you, the process is never that simple.
Each lonesome moment gave me a ton of time to discover myself. The hours spent in the gym provided me with opportunities to learn when I didn’t have the funds to afford both training and living expenses.
I couch surfed between world class gyms including living with one of the greatest fighters of all time for half of a year in Thailand – “The Emperor” Namsaknoi, I slept on a broken blow up mattress which included a two hour commute by bicycle/train each away to the world renown CSA Gym in California in preparation for the Lion Fight World Title, I slept at a fight reporter’s home in London, England as we visited Double K Gym and the legendary Damien Trainor, I made a stop in Bali on my way back to once again live at my parents house, before I quickly packed my things and moved back to Thailand. . . now residing in the Northern mountainous region of Chiang Mai with my lady.
This time alone, multiplied my appreciation and energy for those outside of myself. But inside. . . inside 2018 felt like it was a test of my “why”. It was the first year that I asked myself, “how are we going to get through this one?” Many would consider all that I have listed above a dream, I would consider it a long term investment as the rewards have been very thin since. My 17 fight winning streak ended with back to back losses, back to back knee injuries and tears, and a four-procedure reconstructive surgery on my face (that would break again in training a few months later).
Each time that I have come to a crossroads in life, whether it was in college, in my fight career or within the general difficulties of life, I would think of this image:
We never know how close we are to striking all that we have been slaving for, it was the reason why I kept digging inside myself for more.
I recovered from my reconstructive surgery during a four-month training camp in Southern Thailand. In my story however, as I struck gold during my comeback fight at Glory 58, I broke my pickaxe. I landed a knockdown in the first round that broke my left hand and pulled a number of tendons. The fight ended in a split decision in favor of my opponent, leaving me with half of my purse, but just enough money to pay off my training expenses and get me a one-way ticket to a place I call death ground; all bringing us to today. . .
“Hard times create strong men. Strong men create easy times. Easy times create weak men”
Death ground is a war tactic used in order to force men to fight without the option of turning back, in these circumstances one is forced to execute at an extremely high level. A one way ticket back to Thailand was my death ground. I didn’t have enough money to go back home and I had too much pride to ask for it. Since then, I have worked on three things that infiltrated my mind during the 24 hour commute to Bangkok and the next two months spent alone in a studio apartment with a casted arm.
The three actions that will make you and I elite in 2019:
1. Become Objective
Think of the times that your friends asked you for advice. Remember how quick and direct your answer was? We will always have a clearer view of a situation that we are not emotionally attached to. Sure, emotion can give us a powerful push in distinct situations, but it is not the most intelligent or productive way of dealing with most decisions.
Every problem has a solution, but often times we complicate it by over-analyzing the process. Instead of looking at the things we can control in a negative situation, we focus on the emotions attached to the things we have no authority over; a perfect way to drain your battery without any movement. Rather then idling in place, look at this past year’s biggest challenges.
What control do you have over them so that they don’t repeat in 2019? Did you stray away from your goals around a specific person, around a toxic environment?
It’s time to subtract this year, not add more to the list.
Did you find yourself overwhelmed with the goals you initially set?
Plan better ahead of time, revise and adapt when circumstances change.
After my last fight and hand fracture, many told me to relax my mind, to simply do nothing for once in my life and to just recover. Rational sure, but despite the aggravation of a few injuries, I was back in the gym; it was apparent that I made mistakes which I could have controlled in one way or another.
Didn’t get the right coaching in the corner? Time to create deeper relationships with the cornermen so that they understand the skillset of the fighter they are coaching more intricately.
Broke my hand on top of my opponent’s head? Time to be more conscious of my accuracy at the point of contact. Focused accuracy, during sparring, during pad work, during visualization.
Ran out of money? Time to be more relentless with how I allocate my time; balancing training and the work schedule. Cutting out the bullshit.
2. Become Authoritative
Nothing that lasts comes to us when we play the role of a victim. Though some men are attracted to weak women (usually weak men who attempt to assert control – when has that ever worked out well?), a woman doesn’t look for a mate based on how much empathy he desires. She provides empathy to the man that is willing to battle it out himself in the darkest of moments. Sitting back to let the emotions run through you as you dissect your thought patterns is one thing; it is an evaluation of oneself. Sulking in pity and asking oneself, “why me?” is another.
We all battle demons each and every day. Take a look at Hollywood, a look at the world of Comedy in specific. Men and women who work to put a smile on your face. Who constantly emit joy as they look into the lens of a camera; often selflessly doing so to hide the feelings of the past, attempting to transform those feelings into laughs, and in the cases of some (like Robin Williams & Tony Hancock) to battle depression.
Everything worth having comes with its own demons and hardships. Success is never an accident and for that reason you never assume that you are the only one going through a tough process. . . you must know that everyone that is aiming high is with you. That there are others going through the same dam thing, maybe at a different time, maybe in a different form, but you are NOT alone. And at the end of the day, those who are authoritative with their lives, those who take the lead and create direction in times of conflict, confusion and aimlessness, are the ones who we all look up to.
Be authoritative with your goals and assert your thoughts to take action versus sitting back to analyze each step. Make mistakes, quickly dissect them, but most importantly, move forward in the direction of the goals that you set for this upcoming year.
3. Become Uncommon
When I was in Middle / High School, my friends stopped asking me to come to parties, they also never pressured me to do drugs or drink. Not because they didn’t want me to come, but because they already knew that I simply wouldn’t show up. If you tried to pressure me into something unproductive that I already said “no thank you” to, I didn’t have to verbally communicate my answer. My facial expression did all of the talking. I spent my nights editing videos as my friends smoked in the woods after we finished a day of snowboarding. I put money in my savings account each weekend that they went out to the same club, with the same people.
There is no sin in spending time with those you care about, in having a ritual of get togethers, but even as a teenager I begin to look at things from an extremely simple and objective angle. “If I smoke with my friends it’ll become a habit of mine just as much as editing videos currently is. Going out each weekend to see the same people in the same place will leave me without any savings, the same savings that I can one day utilize to explore the world, to meet other people that were as uncommon as I felt.”
At the time, the word different, uncommon had a negative connotation in my mind. After a decade of staying true to my introverted habits and different ways of thinking, it became an attribute. The savings I put away in High School and College gave me the flexibility to quit working and to travel. Traveling made it easier to meet others like myself, meeting others like myself created memories, creative projects and even profitable endeavors that I would have never come across if I didn’t initially own my weird quirks.
- Quitting work made it that much easier to walk away from bullshit commitments.
- Meeting people like myself made it that much easier to walk away from close-minded people.
- Traveling has made it that much easier to adapt to whatever life throws at me, to always be the new student in class, to be open to new perspectives.
- Not committing to specific types of women, made it that much easier to commit to my type of woman.
Becoming an elite human is not a purely physical endeavor. It is about becoming the best father, husband, boyfriend (mother, wife, girlfriend) that you can be. The best professional at your day job that you can be. Becoming someone who is enthusiastic about life, despite the challenges that appear when one’s bold personality comes into play. Someone who is enthusiastic despite the crabs at the bottom of the barrel that want you to stay just where you are, and despite the denying thoughts that often enter all of our minds.
“New Year, New Me” Bullshit aside. Another year is simply another opportunity. Another opportunity to put the bad in the past and to aim for the good when looking into the future. Another opportunity to set goals high (higher then you are comfortable with), to learn, and to surprise yourself.
Remember, you are not alone. If you are out there grinding. I am there with you.
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About the Author:
Paul Banasiak is a Professional Muay Thai Athlete/addict, 9x champion, trainer, and fitness professional currently living, training, and fighting in Thailand. After leaving his studies in the medical field without looking back, he decided to fully follow his passion of helping others become the best version of themselves, graduating first in class with a Health and Exercise Science Degree and creating MuayThaiAthlete.com. A website for passionate individuals that want to take their lifestyle, mindset & training to the next level.
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