Successful people share many traits, one of which is the ability to bounce back from adversity. When it comes to Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu that means getting back up after a loss- whether it’s getting tapped out in training or losing a match in competition- not dwelling on it, but instead moving forward with a positive mindset.

A few weeks ago Paramount BJJ purple belt Phil Mento entered a local tournament to get some matches in before he leaves for the IBJJF World Championships. He was entered in 3 divisions: Gi absolute (open weight), middleweight, and No-Gi middleweight. Because he’s had a lot of success in regional competition, often winning every division he enters, there was no reason to think he wouldn’t cruise through this one too. But things don’t always go as planned, and he lost his first match of the day 3-2.

When you enter a competition fully expecting to win, losing right off the bat can really shake your confidence and lead to doubt. Am I off today? What if I lose the next match too? Am I not as good as I thought? Even a confident and successful person can have these thoughts. But what they do with those thoughts is what really matters. To be successful in any endeavor you must see defeat as a temporary setback- not a failure. Assess the situation, fix the mistakes, and get ready for the next challenge with a positive approach.

That’s what Phil did. He won his next 5 matches, and earned Gold in his weight class in both gi and no-gi.

It’s important to note that even if he didn’t win the next two divisions Phil would have left the arena that day, chalked it up to another valuable experience, and stepped onto the mat at the next tournament excited to meet the challenge. A temporary set-back could mean losing a match, or having a terrible day of training, or going through a slump in training that lasts weeks.

The most successful people in the world have struggled and battled through moments where most others quit. They persevered, and as a result they achieved greatness.

Stay tuned for part 2.

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