On 5th April 2005, MMA Fighter Kenny Florian fought MMA Fighter Diego “The Nightmare” Sanchez at the first ever “The Ultimate Fighter Finale”. Diego easily dominated the fight and within 2 minutes 49 seconds of the 1st round — destroyed Kenny Florian to win the winner’s trophy + the 6-figure contract + a brand new car + a super expensive watch and all the other perks that came with it. Dana White, the President of the Ultimate Fighting Championship awarded him with the winners plaque & color commentator Joe Rogan took his interview. He was showered with glory, praise & compliments.
Kenny Florian on the other hand had nothing to show for but the bloody bruises on his face. There was no prize awarded to him. No one took his interview. There was nothing glamorous about being defeated.
Diego Sanchez gave optimistic & genuine promises for the future of the sport and he promised himself to achieve greatness. But Kenny on the other hand couldn’t do anything other than hope for redemption.
Over the next many years, Diego Sanchez proved himself to be a very powerful and worthy fighter winning many “Fight of the Year” awards, fight bonuses & many wins.
Kenny on the other hand didn’t win any titles as such as he always fell short right at the end but tried his best among the elite of the elite fighters.
Both were considered to be among the greatest of all time.
Today after a span of nearly 13 years, if you look at it, something strange has happened.
Where once upon a time on 5th April 2005, Kenny Florian looked like a loser and Diego Sanchez seemed destined for greatness — the tables have now changed.
Today Kenny Florian is a very well known color commentator for the Robot Combat Television series ‘Battle Bots’ and he is one of the top commentators for the UFC on Fox, ESPN & UFC Tonight TV Networks. While Diego Sanchez, after being in many bloody battles, is today on the brink of retirement with a questionable future ahead of him.
Funny right, how times changed?
If you were standing there at Hard Rock Casino on 5th April 2005 with Diego Sanchez & Kenny Florian that night — I am pretty sure you would have predicted great things for Diego and his future. While you would not even consider Kenny for a decent life. However, after 13 years, the tables were totally turned and now when it really mattered — Kenny is quite successful and happy while Diego is having a dark & unclear future.
So why do I bring this up?
If you look at the world around you, at the people in your life and at your own life — you will notice the similar pattern. Where once upon a time someone was promulgated to be the next big thing, someone was promoted as the next genius or someone was positioned as the promising hope to everyone — these glittering flames of greatness, just extinguished itself with the blowing winds of time. While on the other hand, the ones we least expected, the ordinary, the useless, the failures or the ones whom we least expected to achieve anything worthwhile — went on to achieve success way beyond what anyone could have predicted.
Now I am not trying to imply everyone who has achieved greatness today is going to get destroyed in another 13 years. Or that the useless bum on the streets with totally transform himself into Elon Musk after the coming decade.
I am not here to give you fake hopes, false statements & hyper-motivational bullshit. But rather, I am making you aware of how life is so unpredictable, how situations can unexpectedly change and how the future can totally be the exact opposite of what you and I expect and predict. And no one knows this more than I.
I personally witnessed my own Mother & Step-Father — who rose from the ashes of poverty, became millionaires, and then one day — lost everything. And they lost everything because they started to believe in their own hype. They began to have faith in their own greatness. And they began to trust their past track record of achievements. And that was when they were introduced to the reality of life — its unpredictability and its cruelty.
The fact of the matter is this — no successful person likes or wants to believe that they were plain lucky and maybe luck had everything to do with their success. Try asking Elon Musk, Oprah Winfrey, Mark Zuckerberg, Warren Buffet, Bill Gates & Larry Ellison on how did they become successful billionaires — and they would give you all the wonderful theories of hard-work, successful teams, business strategies, and visionary implementation. You don’t have to go any further than Tony Robbins, Tim Ferris, Jack Ma & Gary Vaynerchuk who would give you books, videos, interviews & podcasts on how Successful people achieve greatness.
Funny thing is — if you and I would implement EVERY SINGLE THING they suggested — we would still not even reach 10% of what they achieved. Even if we put in double the hours of work, triple the focus and quadruple the intensity — we would still not reach where they have reached.
Because success, greatness & achievement that too for a future you and I cannot see, is not determined by all this alone. Luck comes into play. And Luck in itself is 100% of everything.
Want to challenge me?
Try asking a kid in war-torn Syria or in the slums of Somalia to implement all the secrets to success you are suggesting to achieve greatness. Let me know how far does that work.
The truth is No one knows the future.
No one can predict it.
No one can prepare for it.
All we can do is prepare for the worst every single day and give our best. And hope that the rest works in our favor.
What Kenny Florian& Diego “The Nightmare” Sanchez showed me was that, yes, you can be successful today. But there is no assurance, no guarantee, and no iron-clad rule that you will be successful tomorrow — no matter what you do. You can be a good guy or you can be a bad guy — but if you are plain unlucky — you are finished. That doesn’t mean you abuse the privileges of what life has to offer you. No. Far from it. But what I am trying to tell you is — just know that whatever is your reality today will not be your reality tomorrow. And that is a fact. And given that age catches up, competition grows and times are only changing — I do know one thing. It doesn’t matter how successful you are today or how successful you are tomorrow. What will finally matter is how did you live your life each and everyday, how did you spend each and every moment and how did you enjoy the journey. Because in the end — neither you nor me would know what will happen next.
So here is me concluding my friend….
With just one statement that I live by and believe…..
It doesn’t matter how happy & successful you were in the 1st 50 years of your life. What matters is how happy & successful you will be in the last 50 years of your life.
I for one prefer the last 50.
Because the last thing I want to do is look back and say to myself “Sigh…those were the good old days.”
Remember — he who laughs last laughs best.
Here is me wishing you to ensure the joke that life cracks in the end….is not you.