You cannot always control what happens to you in life, but what’s important is how you handle it. Champions are not only champions when everything is going right, but when things don’t go right they know how to turn their obstacles into opportunities - it all starts with a mindset.
It was June of 2013 and I was on the tail end f a great fight camp, two weeks away from the biggest fight of my MMA career to date. I was about to make my debut at World Series of Fighting. WSOF is the #3 MMA promotion in the world. Their fights broadcast live on NBC Sports across the country. Needless to say this was a big opportunity.
Less than two weeks out from the fight I started to feel some pain in my jaw. In about 24 hours the pain went from annoying to excruciating. I went to the dentist and he said my wisdom teeth were coming in (I should have gotten them pulled much earlier) and one of them was growing in on an angle. That tooth had gotten infected so bad that it looked like I had a golf ball in my cheek. It was painful!
The dentist said I needed to get four teeth pulled immediately. When I told him I had the biggest fight of my life in 10 days, he didn’t have much sympathy (when you tell your doctor that you get punched in the face for a living, they don’t usually like it). So I was 10 days out from the fight and the recovery time for the surgery was… 10 days.
Surgery was done – I had no choice. But I did have a choice on how I was going to view this problem. I could have said to myself, “I can’t train for the last 10 days of my camp. How am I going to cut weight? I now am going into a fight with four holes in my jaw, what a disadvantage! This is a disaster. How can I win under these circumstances?”
Instead, I took a different approach. I said to myself, “This is an obstacle that I will overcome and how much cooler is this victory going to knowing the adversity I had to overcome to achieve it! After this win, I am going to have a good story to tell!”
That is exactly what happened. I won a hard fought battle and the adversity made the win just that much more special. Now I get to tell the story. Watch the fight video below…
If you asked T-Wood about his injury I am sure he would list off all the positives that have come from it. I can imagine him saying, “I now have an opportunity to focus on my upper body strength. I get to spend more time studying the game… etc”
The moral of the story here is that obstacles are only obstacles when you allow them to be. It all starts with your mindset. Don’t look at a problem as a disaster but rather an opportunity!