Nothing gets solved when we fight angry. Doing anything out of anger will most probably result in regrets. That’s the wisdom behind these five powerful words of Lao Tzu. It’s about how you fight, and fighting right - not just in the ring or on the mat but also in life. Many times, when an incident occurs, we have to separate ourselves from the incident. Take deep breaths, and take the time to reflect before we decide on the best way to handle the situation.


“Courage is not the absence of fear, but the triumph over it.” – Nelson Mandela


Nelson Mandela found that the real courage doesn’t necessarily mean having no fear at all. Fear is a natural emotion, as we are all human, everyone feels it at some points throughout their lives. But being able to stand up and  do whatever you were fearful of despite of your fear, that is the true meaning of courage. In other words, what he’s trying to say is that it’s alright to feel scared, feel the fear but don’t stop there; dare to stand up to your fear, and don’t let it get in your way of becoming your best self.


“A brave man, a real fighter is not measured by how many times he falls,
but how many times he stands up.” – Rickson Gracie


Similar to Nelson Mandela’s definition of courage, Rickson Gracie reminds us that everybody falls and that no one is born a genius. We all learn in life, and in the process we might face failures. How easy would it be to just give up every time it gets hard - to just say “maybe I’m not cut out for this” or “it’s not my cup of tea” -, but only the most courageous fighters win in life, and if it’s easy, everyone would’ve done it, right?


“It isn’t the mountains ahead to climb that wear you out;
it’s the pebble in your shoe.” – Muhammad Ali


Humans are fascinating creatures. They can endure some of the most incredible hardships with hardly a peep, but little annoyances can be distracting if we don’t deal with them. This is what Muhammad Ali meant by “the pebble in your shoe”. This quote is about our attitude of getting things done to avoid getting annoyed by the little distractions. If there’s a “pebble” in your shoe, get it out immediately, don’t let the joy of procrastination ruin your focus of climbing the real mountain!


“It’s not about being better than the other.
It’s about being better than you were yesterday.”


Let’s admit that we can be tad bit competitive at times, whether you compare yourself to that new kid who has just gotten that promotion within their first two months working, or with that boxer in your gym that never seems to lose! You’ll never be happy if you dedicate your whole life trying to be better than everybody else. Mark Zuckerberg, CEO and Co-Founder of Facebook was in his 20’s when he became the youngest self-made billionaire. Chances are, he’s probably achieved much more than you ever will in your life and your next lifetime combined, but that’s not the point. The key is continuous improvement; by constantly trying to be better than you were yesterday, you have every chance of being the best that you can be. Run your own race.


The difference between winning and losing is most often not quitting.” – Walt Disney


Everyone has reached a point in life when they wanted something very badly, but then discouraged and ready to quit. When you’re faced with the choice between continuing to fight a what-seem-to-be-“hopeless” battle or allowing yourself the relief of giving up, how do you choose? Well, you didn’t come this far to only come ‘this far’, right? The chance is, you are closer to your goal than you think. Don’t give up just because you’re tired and yearning for something easier to do. Don’t betray yourself. Feel your desire, plan and work toward your goal, show persistence, don’t recognize failure, keep fighting, and persist until you win! Sometimes you just have no idea how close you are to your goals before you give up.


“I’m not in this world to live up to your expectations,
and you are not in this world to live up to mine.” – Bruce Lee


It is our birthright to live a life that brings us joy. What brings us joy is to do what we love, what are passionate about and not live out someone else’s expectations. To think we can win the likes of everyone is just unrealistic, because you will always have people who will stand against you, so why not be true to yourself and do what you love and live up to your own expectations? Dare to live life on your own terms and beat to the rythm of your own drums!


“We are what we repeatedly do.
Excellence, therefore is not an action but a habit.” – Aristotle


Will Durant mentioned in his book The Story of Philosophy that: “Excellence is an art won by training and habituation: we do not act rightly because we have virtue or excellence, but rather have these because we have acted rightly; these virtues are formed in man by doing his actions”. To make it simpler, you develop a talent for the things you repeatedly practice. The same goes for the reverse: problems, failure, and other issues, they can become habits too. Therefore, choose your habits wisely, or you may achieve excellence in something that doesn’t matter to you.


“Do not fight with the strength, absorb it and it flows, use it.” – Ip Man


This can mean two things: The first one being us fearing our own strength because “Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate, it is that we are powerful beyond measure.” This can be our gift, our talent, we sometimes run away from it thinking that it won’t lead us anywhere. Like some people abandon the dreams of being an artist because art doesn’t pay the bill. So this quote is telling us to allow ourselves to embrace our talents, our gifts, our bliss, because only then we can become ‘powerful beyond measure’. The second meaning is when facing an opponent much larger and stronger than us, it is impossible to overcome them if we rely on our own body strength – your opponent will always be able to strike through your defense. Ip Man is a practitioner of Wing Chun, a form of martial arts practice that teaches the exponent to maximize the body weight in all movements to to generate greater striking power than their muscles alone could ever generate. So in this case, when facing a larger opponent, you must “absorb” the strength of your opponent and use it against them.


“There’s only one way to avoid criticism:
Do nothing, say nothing, be nothing.” – Elbert Hubbard


This is the way of the world. There will always be those who criticize. Whether it’s too much, or too little, they will never be satisfied. This is why learning to differentiate between when to accept, or to ignore, criticism is important. Don’t let the critics prevent you from saying something, do something, be something. Critics will criticize, after all, that’s what they do. Give the constructive feedback of those you respect some consideration, and ignore the rest.

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