He may not be a world famous entrepreneur, but Conor McGregor knows all about working hard and fighting your way to success. He’s a professional mixed martial artist, signed to the Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC), and he’s followed his dreams all the way down the road to fame and fortune.
A fighter of Irish descent, McGregor made his professional debut at just 19 years old and after just one amateur match, which he of course won handily. Since he first broke onto the scene in 2008, he’s had an enormous impact on the world of mixed martial arts (MMA), and other professional fighters fear his name and his abilities in the cage. He is the former UFC Featherweight Champion, the current UFC Lightweight Champion, and is now competing as a welterweight, thanks to his intense training schedule.
McGregor’s fighting record is a tremendous one: only three losses in more than two dozen matches, an astonishing 18 of them by knockout. Clearly, he’s doing things very right! And while you may not be able to get in the gym with McGregor and learn his tricks of the MMA trade, but he does have some wisdom to share. What’s more, McGregor’s advice can be applied to just about any endeavor, athletic or otherwise.
Here are the ten rules of success according to Conor McGregor.
1. You have to love what you do.
McGregor clearly loves being an MMA fighter — you can see it in his eyes when he steps in the ring and stares down his opponent. Whatever it is that you do, you need a natural curiosity for it and a deep seated passion for it. If you genuinely love what you do, as McGregor does, then you show up to work with a great attitude; you’re focused and you’re happy. What’s more, as McGregor and many others have pointed out, if you do what you love and you love what you do, then you really don’t work at all.
2. Don’t live in the past — move ahead.
It’s OK to look back on the past, and it’s OK to remember highs and lows, but if you’re going to be successful, you can’t dwell on the past. Time moves in one direction, and successful people move with it. This goes for both ups and downs, for both wins and losses, according to McGregor. A loss can be devastating and shake your confidence, but a win can artificially inflate your confidence and cause you to not prepare well enough for future battles.
3. Be brave enough to speak up.
It takes courage, yes, but if you believe in something, if you have something to say, then get vocal about it! Whether you’re talking about your own goals or your feelings on a particular matter, you need to have the guts to verbalize it. This lets other people know that you’re not afraid to say what’s on your mind. Clearly, McGregor isn’t afraid of speaking his mind (he’s one of the biggest trash talkers in the MMA world), and he credits much of his success to this very important attribute.
4. Recognize that when you achieve success, you will be an inspiration to others.
McGregor genuinely enjoys his success and everything he’s earned, and he encourages others to do the same. What’s more, don’t be surprised if others want to be like you or want to know your secrets. Remember that others are watching you, and stay positive as you continue to forge ahead.
5. Work hard to prove your doubters wrong.
When you’re trying to build something, whether it’s a new company or a career in MMA, a lot of people will question you. They’ll think you’re on the wrong path in life, or they’ll wonder why you’re doing what you’re doing. You’ll want to argue with them and get in their faces, but don’t — just keep your confidence high and keep working toward your goal. The best revenge is living well, as the old saying goes, and working hard to prove your doubters wrong is a variation of that.
In McGregor’s case, he always wanted to be a professional fighter, but he had friends and family who were pushing him to learn a trade. Believe it or not, he did; he learned plumbing and worked at it for 18 months, but he knew the whole time that it wasn’t for him. Eventually, McGregor quit to train full time, and the rest, as they say, is history. He kept his head down and did what he was supposed to do, but when the time came, he showed his doubters that he knew he was on the right path all along.
6. Take your own creative approach to your work.
It’s the “think outside the box” mentality that has helped McGregor rise to the top of the MMA world. The way he sees it, doing things the way they’ve always been done may be safe and comfortable, but it certainly doesn’t break any new ground. McGregor and his trainer work on unconventional moves, and he credits this approach for his many wins and his utter dominance in the fighting world. As an entrepreneur, it’s always a good idea to take a unconventional approach to your work. Yes, it means bigger challenges and bigger risks, but it also means the potential for bigger rewards as well.
7. Good things come with gratitude.
This may sound like a strange rule for success coming from one of the biggest trash talkers on the planet, but Conor McGregor recognizes that gratitude is a precursor to a lot of positive things in life. If you feel grateful for your success rather than a sense of entitlement about it, you attract good people, you widen your margin of error, and you increase your chances of future success. Even if you have a small thing to celebrate, be grateful for it.
8. Have heroes that are worthy of emulation.
It may not come as a surprise that McGregor looks up to Muhammad Ali for his prowess in the ring, his charisma, and his larger than life persona. Ali was a true inspiration for McGregor as he was a young lad, and he continues to be to this day. If you want to be a success, according to McGregor, you need an inspirational hero — someone who has achieved the type of success you’re after and has done it with panache and flair.
9. Focus on the now.
Long range goals are all well and good, but don’t focus on the future so much that you miss living in the present, McGregor says. Those small things you do from day to day have an impact on your life down the road. Live in the moment, appreciate the moment, and if you are the type of person who needs a goal, create small goals for yourself so you stay present in the here and now.
10. Be kind to your admirers.
When you’ve achieved success, even if it’s just a little, you’re going to have people who look up to you and admire what you’ve accomplished. Be good to them! It makes them feel so appreciated when you take the time to engage with them, and when you interact with an admirer, it makes you feel great and provides fantastic motivation to keep doing what you’re doing. McGregor obviously has many fans, and he knows that his fans are a big part of his success. He always takes time to meet them, shake their hands, and share a genuine conversation with them.
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