The Best Mental Attitude for Winning, Courtesy Fedor Emelianenko

John ConnorsContributor ISeptember 15, 2008

The BEST Mental Attitude for Winning...

Fedor Emelianenko, MMA World Champion, won again in fast fashion. He defeated 6'8", 265-pound Tim Sylvia. 

If you've ever seen Fedor fight, you'd be impressed with the eerie calmness that he enters the ring with. He's seems to have ice in his veins—no nerves at all. He looks like he's going out for his morning jog.

Yet, he consistently wins in impressive ways.

What's Fedor's Secret?

It's his mental approach to fights.

Some fighters motivate themselves by getting angry at their opponent. They point to some insult (imagined or real) to justify their anger. They use the emotion to fuel their training and to summon up their courage to fight.

Fedor has a different approach.

When he's asked about an upcoming fight or future opponent, his typical response is that the fight is "a great opportunity to show the world my skills and techniques."

Now this is an ingenious response for several reasons:

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1. He gives his opponent nothing to get indignant about

Nothing to rile up his emotions. The New England Patriots are famous for not giving their opponents any sound bites to post up in the locker room. There's nothing for the opponent to build a rallying cry around—No "They don't give us any respect! We'll show them! It's us against the world!"

2. It's not personal

He doesn't make the fight about "who the better man" is. He takes the pressure off himself this way. His self-worth will remain intact, win or lose. He'll tend to feel less self-conscious, and this is very important because when a fighter is thinking about himself during a fight he's not focusing on the match. A fighter, or any performer, can't be at their best when they're feeling self-conscious. It's a fatal distraction.

3. Fedor's mental approach is inherently positive.

It's an "opportunity." It's not a battle. Not a war. Not a mountain to climb. Not something to overcome.

4. It's inherently aggressive and offensive.

It's not about avoiding a loss. It's about displaying his technique and skills. This puts him in an attacking mindset. It puts him on the offensive from the outset.

5. This approach demands a high standard of performance.

Fedor wants to "show the world." You would only show the world your very best. So Fedor manages to take the pressure off but still put up his best level of performance.

This is without a doubt a great pre-fight approach. I coach all my students to prepare for grappling events this way.

And we can all use this approach to the challenges we face in life—not just fights. If we think "I'm going to take this opportunity to show the world what I can do," we can stay positive, take the pressure off ourselves, stay pro-active, and perform at our highest level.

What else can you ask for?

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