What do entrepreneurs and martial artists have in common? More than you might think.
While you don’t need bulging muscles or cardiovascular endurance to run a board meeting, you do require tenacity, the ability to think on your feet and the wherewithal to rise from the ashes. Here are seven lessons Brazilian jiu-jitsu can teach entrepreneurs.
1. Getting Back up When You Fall
Chances are, you won’t succeed at the first business you run — or the second or possibly the third. Henry Ford failed and went broke five times before eventually achieving success. Louis Pasteur was a lousy chemistry student.
Brazilian jiu-jitsu will knock your butt to the mat more times than you can count. It also teaches you that you don’t admit defeat until you fail to get back up.
2. It’s the Size of the Fight in the Dog
When you start a business, it doesn’t matter how much assets or backing you have. Somebody always has more, and plenty of people want to see you crash and burn.
Mark Twain once wrote, “It’s not the size of the dog in the fight; it’s the size of the fight in the dog.” Brazilian jiu-jitsu teaches you that no matter the size of your opponent or adversity, you can overcome it. Indeed, Rorion Gracie, one of the family members who brought the sport to the West, co-founded the Ultimate Fighting Championship, which is now one of the world’s most-watched events.
3. Finding a Mentor Helps
You might make the best widgets this side of the Mississippi, but if you don’t know jack about sales and marketing, you’ll never sell enough to feed your family. Brazilian jiu-jitsu instills the value of finding a mentor and heeding their advice.
Analyze your strengths and weaknesses. Then, put on your networking hat and find others who possess the skills you lack.
4. Humility Is Critical to Learning
Maybe you do have the next latest-and-greatest idea. Guess what, genius? That doesn’t mean you know everything about all topics.
If you want to keep growing and improving, stay humble. Brazilian jiu-jitsu teaches that you will eventually meet a superior fighter. You can resent them or learn from their example — the choice is yours.
5. Honor Your Support System
It’s natural to focus on your efforts in building your business. However, you didn’t do it alone. Someone drives the delivery trucks, and others constructed the road that carries your fleet.
Jiu-jitsu, like all martial arts, involves respect for your support system. It reminds you to honor those who helped get you to where you are today.
6. Talent Is Overrated
Some people have an innate fighting ability. Brazilian jiu-jitsu teaches a quick and painful lesson that relying on talent alone will land you on your backside.
Even Rodin started with a humble lump of clay — now, casts of his “Thinker” exist worldwide. It doesn’t matter if you start with bulging biceps and quick feet or more closely resemble a 98-pound weakling. If you devote yourself to your practice, you’ll get more agile and powerful.
7. Adaptability and Lateral Thinking Breeds Success
In Brazilian jiu-jitsu, you must expect the unexpected. What happens when you think you defeated your opponent only to have him take you out with a sweep? Eventually, your adversary will pull a move you didn’t see coming, and you won’t be able to prepare a counterattack.
As an entrepreneur, you need to think beyond traditional problem-solving approaches and innovate — often on the fly. By engaging your brain to counter unforeseen adversity, you improve your ability to think creatively on your feet.
Take These Jiu-Jitsu Lessons to Heart
Brazilian jiu-jitsu has multiple lessons to teach entrepreneurs. Take the above advice to heart and improve your chances of business success.