What Did Jiu-Jitsu Teach Me About Entrepreneurship?

What can Jiu-Jitsu teach you about success and entrepreneurship? 

I was recently asked what Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu has taught me about life, business and entrepreneurship…

You might be surprised to hear this, but I’ve learned a lot from my Jiu-jitsu training that applies to my business.

I’ve learned some surprising lessons on that mat, and those lessons have changed my perspective on life and business and influenced the way I run my company.

If you’re curious to learn more about what Jiu-Jitsu has taught me about life, business and entrepreneurship, this is for you! 

In this video, I’m going to cover:

  • How losing your ego will improve your business
  • What Jiu Jitsu taught me about making better decisions in business
  • Why you must quit focusing on winning if you want to grow

So, believe it or not, Brazilian jiu-jitsu has taught me a lot about success and entrepreneurship and has allowed me to navigate life a lot better than when I wasn’t practicing BJJ. And so, in today’s video, I’m going to cover some of the reasons that Brazilian jiu-jitsu has helped me become successful in life. Make sure to subscribe and also smash that like button.

So I recently asked on my social media, I said I’m running out of things to talk about on YouTube. You know, what questions would you want me to cover? And one of the questions was what has Brazilian jiu-jitsu taught you about success, entrepreneurship, life, et cetera. And I thought that was a great question. So I decided to answer it in this video. You see, when you do jiu-jitsu, this is what happens, right? And by the way, I’m not like a black belt or anything. I’m a blue belt. I’ve been training for about five years, but I would say three years more seriously. And you walk into a gym, and maybe you got some muscles. Maybe you’re kind of a big guy. I was a bit bigger when I started jiu-jitsu. I was like 205 pounds. I was pretty big. I was like lifting a lot of weights. And I was just thinking that I had all this strength, and I did, I had strength, but that first jiu-jitsu class was not what I expected.

I come in, and I see this skinny, maybe 130 pounds soaking wet, 15-year-old kid on the mat. And you know, the instructor says, okay, you know, you’re going to roll with him. You’re going to practice with him. And in my mind, I’m thinking I don’t care how much this kid knows. I’m a 200-pound man. He’s a 130-pound kid. I’m gonna have my way with him. I’m going to smash him. And it’s funny because that 15-year-old kid threw me around that mat, like an absolute ragdoll. That little dude literally could do anything to my body break any limb on my body that he so chose.

That was the day that my perspective really, really changed. And I started practicing jiu-jitsu regularly. And you see it all the time. You’ll have somebody come in. It’s their first day of class. Maybe they’re a wrestler and wrestlers can be quite challenging. A lot of them can be quite challenging because they do know how to grapple, but you’ll have guys like that, or you’ll have bodybuilders or just big guys with an ego come in. And it’s always like getting to see an ego, just literally evaporate in thin air when they come on the mat. And you can just tell that they feel so powerful. And then their entire reality changes in just like 30 seconds. They’re like, oh my gosh. And then they either get angered by this and frustrated, and they leave, and they never come back, or they get inspired by it. And they come back constantly, and they train, and they want to how to do what that little stick figure does too, you know, have their way with them.
So if the first thing I learned was that it’s a loss of ego, right? And that goes back to entrepreneurship. That goes back to success. At the end of the day, there’s always somebody out there that knows more than you. That’s more efficient at it. Who’s worked harder at it. And so it’s important to never think that you’re the best. You know, you can say I’m the best and all that. And you can tell yourself you’re the best as a motivational tool, but there’s another layer of that belief that can be toxic, where if you feel that you have nothing to improve on, then that can be toxic. Right? So the key here is to understand that there’s always somebody out there that’s better. And we say that a lot, but nothing really proves that to you, nothing really illustrates that than somebody half your size choking you until you turn blue. So that’s the first thing.

The second thing is patience and calmness. So your first year in jiu-jitsu, a lot of times, you use a lot of energy when you’re grappling. I was just training the other night, and I had a guy. He was new. You can always tell people that are new because they’re wearing a t-shirt. Whereas the people that aren’t new are wearing rash guards, but he was new. And he has probably been training a few months, and we went to grapple, and he just went a hundred percent, just a hundred percent. And so, of course, I had to up to that level, but that’s the thing, in the beginning, you think that the way to win is to go a hundred percent and you exhaust your energy, you get tired, and you get tapped out over and over again because the guy with more patience that doesn’t need to go freak out and use all of his strengths at once, use his technique. And just again, has his way with you, even though you’re going a hundred percent.

So you start to slow down, and you start to get patient. You wait for openings. You try to create openings. You try to get people to do things. You learn to offer things that someone might go for to try to do a move on you, but then you’re baiting them into another. You just get more tactical about it, and you slow down. And you chill. And you’ll, you’ll notice that when you see somebody who’s been training jiu-jitsu for a while, they’ll almost seem like they don’t care. Like they’ll just kind of like lay down on the ground. They almost look like they’re disinterested in the match. And it’s not that they are. It’s that they’re just calm. And when you calm your mind, you learn to see things that you can’t see when your mind is going a million miles an hour, right? Like when you’re going a hundred percent, you can’t see the things that are there because you’re too, your brains going too fast.

And it’s the same thing in entrepreneurship and in life. You tend to have your brain go so crazy. Like, I gotta do this. I gotta make this. I gotta make this money. I gotta do this. I gotta remember that. You just don’t see the answers that are in front of you because your brain’s going too fast. You have to calm down. You have to let the answer come to you. You have to assess the situation without all the head trash that comes with freaking out. And that’s hard to do, so is jiu-jitsu. But that’s what it taught me is relaxing in moments of stress. I’ll give you a perfect example.

Let’s say somebody’s got your back, and they’re choking you, right? If you tense up and you try to use strength to get out of it, you’re actually causing yourself to get choked out sooner. You’re using more oxygen. Your blood pressure’s going up. It’s not a good way to do it. When you’re calm and you can slowly, you can slowly work. You can slowly work. You can just remain calm. You slow your breathing down. Then you get that. You get the arm over and grab it and get it over it. Now you can move your hips out, and you just look at it from, listen, I know this person is trying to choke me unconscious, but me being excited about it is going to just make me go out sooner. So I’m going to relax, and I’m going to work it out because when you relax, you get more time to figure it out. I was in a choke like a week ago where it was cinched in, and I calmed down real calm. And I worked and I just one little shoulder movement at a time, made some space, made some space, made some, got my chin up, push my chin against my shoulder, got some space, got a finger in, got some space, and got out of it. The training partner I had, he was like, that was really good defense. And he had great offense. His offense was insane. And so you know that right there, and I’ve had people in chokes where they just slowly, you know, and they were very calm.

So that taught me that you will see more, and you will have more opportunities to fix a problem when you’re calm than when you’re excited. When you’re excited, you just make the problem worse. That’s something I’ve struggled with in my life. I get upset about something. I get excited about something. I still don’t have any furniture. And I have a fricking $2 million penthouse in downtown St. Pete. I have hardly any furniture because every time I order furniture, they send it to St. Petersburg, New York, instead of Florida, or they reschedule, or like the, all these issues with the supply chain. And I get frustrated about it, but then I’m like, it’s not going to matter. You know? And then if I get excited, then I go, and I take that over to my work. And then I don’t get work done. And it costs me more than just not having a place to sit. So it’s important to realize that getting angry and getting crazy about said thing is only going to make it worse. So that taught me a lot.
The other thing is, this is a big one. This would be the third one. This one’s huge. When you train jiu-jitsu, right, when you’re new, you try to win. And that’s the thing. People who try to win very rarely get better at jiu-jitsu, right? Like, I know that sounds crazy. But when you’re grappling with somebody, and you’re trying to win constantly, you’re not really working on anything because when you’re in training, like, for instance, and I learned this from a couple of black belts that I heard them say this over and over again, pick something and work on it that day.
So like, for instance, let’s say you want to work on not letting someone get on top of you or getting in a position where you can get out of that. Well, if you go and you attack them constantly, and you don’t give them a chance to get on top of you, you’re never gonna be able to work on that, right? Even even if they’re like a lower rank than you, and they’re not as experienced as you, put yourself in positions that you don’t want to be in so you can work on getting out of them. Right? And that’s the thing is, let’s say, I want to learn how to escape somebody having side control or somebody having me in mount. I can’t work on escaping mount unless I let someone get now, and then I can work on escaping it. And so if I say myself, I want to win, then I probably won’t let most people get mount, right? Unless they’re really good. And they get it anyway, but I wouldn’t let them get it because that puts me in a bad position.

So what happens here is like, let’s say you’re a blue belt and you’re grappling a white belt, or let’s say you’re a purple belt and you’re grappling a blue belt or what have you. And you let them get you in a bad position because you want to work on getting out of that position. If you let them get you in a compromising position, you may lose. You may not get out of it, and they may win in a situation where for the most part, you would have never let them get that position anyway. You would have never let yourself get that compromised, and so you probably would not have lost in that case. And so you gotta let that ego go and you gotta say, you know what, I’m going to let people who maybe aren’t as good as me, get me in a bad position so I can practice getting out. Or even if they are as good as you are, even if they’re better than you, it doesn’t matter. The point is, is that if you’re trying to work on something, you work on that, and you don’t just try to always win. Because if you try to always win, you’re never going to work on those things that need work. You’re just going to be trying to win. And so you’re never going to people get in that position. Or you’re never going to put yourself in that position, or it’ll happen very rarely, and so you just won’t be able to work on getting out of it.

And that’s one thing that carried over. And one of the reasons I started reading books, like, How To Win Friends and Influence People by Dale Carnegie. Because I would say one of the biggest takeaways from jiu-jitsu as it applies to success in life and dealing with people, interpersonal relationships, networking, business, even employee boss situations, is there’re two ways you can approach something. You can either try to accomplish the goal or, you can try to win, right? If you try to win, then you’re just arguing. And you’re just like letting your ego get in the way. Whereas when you want to accomplish the mission, you have to let go of your ego.

So for instance, there was a story in that book, How To Win Friends and Influence People, where he talks about how this collections company tried going to the customer’s house and arguing and showing them that the charges were correct because the customers were saying this charge, isn’t correct. I shouldn’t have been billed for this. And they would go to their houses. They would show them the bill. And they would say, Hey, this was right. See, we were right. You need to pay this. And they collected very little money. And then they took his course on how to win friends and influence people. And this was in the 1930s, by the way. But they did that. And so they tried a new method where they would go, and they would say, listen, I’m sorry that you’re frustrated. I’m sorry that this happened to you. I’m sorry that these charges are confusing to you. You know, I absolutely would feel the way you felt if I was in your position. Let’s go through them individually. And let’s just find out what is, what is not. And at the end of it, we’ll let you decide. You know, I believe you to be an honorable person. So if you think you should pay them, we’ll let you, you pay them. If you don’t think you should pay them, you don’t have to pay them. And they would do that. And out of like ten people, one would not pay the bill. Nine would pay the bill, whereas before, it was like two would pay the bill. And so they gave up their ego and the desire to be right or win by doing that method where they provided empathy, and they took a different path, and that accomplished the mission more.

So it’s the same thing in jiu-jitsu, right. Do you want to win all the time or do you want to get better at jiu-jitsu? In business, in life, do you want to be right? Or do you want to accomplish the mission? You know what I’m saying? So sometimes you have to just suck it up and let your ego slide to accomplish the mission and not try to argue and be right, and always prove people wrong. And it’s hard because, you know, I came from a world where all I wanted to do is prove people wrong. I delivered pizza for seven years. Everybody told me I would never be anything. And then I had that as motivation. And then when I got there, and I built a multi-million dollar company, I was so used to that, “I’m going to prove everybody wrong,” that I had to relearn how to deal with people. And jiu-jitsu helped me at my core realize that that was something that needed to be done.

So I know this was probably long-winded, and I can talk for an hour on how jiu-jitsu relates to success. But I will just say, if you’ve never done it, you should definitely try it. I believe it’s the highest form of self-defense. I think it’s more effective than most other martial arts. And that’s just my opinion. I believe that it gives you patience. It teaches you how to deal with things that are at a high level of intensity or stress and remain calm. And it just gives you the fundamental tools deep inside to navigate through life. And so I really highly recommend if you’ve never, ever taken jiu-jitsu, consider doing it. And make sure it’s a reputable school that the instructor is not just some dude at a karate school or a Krav Mega school or something, trying to teach you something that he saw on YouTube. Like it’s an actual, like Gracie or an actual legitimate instructor. And not just somebody who’s like teaching a self-defense class, because you’re just going to learn how to like, flop around on the mat, like a fish.

I hope this was helpful. If you like videos like this, let me know, because honestly, I’m a little unsure where to go with my YouTube channel. Most of our revenue at my company comes from paid advertising. So I kind of just do this to do it for you. So if you like videos like this, let me know. We’re building a new podcast studio in my office right now. It won’t be done for a few weeks. So I’m just kind of sitting here in my condo, making random videos based on your guys’ questions. If you like videos like this, let me know. And also, let me know what you’d like my next video to be on. Maybe I’ll make a video on it. All right. Don’t forget to subscribe. See you guys later.

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