If you know what’s happening in the sports world at all then you know who Conor McGregor is. For those that don’t know, Conor is a mixed martial arts (mma) fighter in the UFC. But he isn’t just any fighter. He is the new featherweight campion of the world in the UFC. He recently beat the former champion Jose Aldo in 13 seconds and one punch. This was the fastest that anyone has ever won a belt. Conor made a ton of money too. Just for winning Conor earned more that $580,000. Then there’s the pay-per-view money that is still being calculated, but it is estimated that he will have earned around $8 million dollars for that 13 second fight.
However, contrary to what that picture says, no it did not take Conor 13 seconds to make that much money (side note: that picture was posted 37 weeks ago.) It took him much longer. It took him years and years of training. Countless hours of dedication were required for him to compete and win at that level.
We as an audience only see the highlights. We see the performance, not the preparation. However, without preparation, none of what Conor or any other athlete does would be possible.
Excellence requires work. It requires patience as well. This was not by any means McGregor’s first fight. He had to fight a lot before he signed a contract with the UFC, and then once he signed the contract he had to fight even more before he had a shot at the title. If that wasn’t enough, once he was given a chance to win the title, his opponent Aldo dropped out at the last second and McGregor had to wait some more. But when it was finally time for him to become champion, he capitalized. He took hold of the moment and left absolutely no doubt.
That’s what preparation does, it allows you to do what you have been preparing for. As B.J. Neblett famously says, “We are the sum total of our experiences.” Meaning, as Aristotle says, “We are what we repeatedly do, excellence then is not an act, it is a habit.” It was no accident that McGregor was able to win. If he had lost, it would not have been an accident either.
There are times when we have a bad luck of the draw. But I would argue that this rarely happens. More often than not, our outcome is due to the work we put in before hand. For many, finals just ended and your grades will reflect the amount of effort you put in over the course of the entire semester, not the one night you didn’t sleep so you could study.
So going in to next semester, or anything else, recognize that there is much more to the thing than the thing itself. If the goal is to get A’s, then you need to pass more than just the final. If you want six-pac abs, then you need to say no to more than one donut. If you want a girl to marry you then you can’t pop the question on the first date. Be patient and prepare, and then like McGregor, give it all you got and you will be successful.