Growth occurs outside of your comfort zone. Every individual will be faced with no shortage of challenges, but every individual has the incredible strength necessary to face and overcome them. The sooner a person learns this, and understands the utility of the process for their personal development, the better.
MMA is not comfortable, nice, or safe. It is always challenging, often unpleasant, and it requires a degree of confrontation, aggression, failure, confidence, courage, self-conviction, vulnerability, and toughness.
These qualities characterize most things in life that we deem admirable. Careers, relationships, businesses, sports. They characterize life, and what one will inevitably face, and what one should be able to utilize if necessary.
It's the outcomes these characteristics provide that makes MMA, and to me, life, so fun and so rewarding. Learning that challenges are good, because you always learn, and sometimes you overcome them, and accomplish things few others attempt.
That when things are unpleasant, you can stay composed and focused, remembering why you embarked on such a journey and keep going.
That confrontation really isn't so bad, and if you can approach it with confidence, empathy, and a little strategy, you can often get more of what you want in life. A promotion, an opportunity, a chance to speak your mind.
That failure isn't so bad either, in fact it's a blessing. And you learn to attempt even your greatest ambitions despite the likelihood or fear of it.
You learn that vulnerability is okay, and the goal isn't to eradicate it, but to build such a character, such a skill set that can withstand the attempts to take you down. The better you do, the more frequent the attempts become, but that's okay because you're not in the game to please everyone, and you've felt resistance before.
The opinions of others don't discourage you, because you know what you're capable of, and you believe in yourself.
You've felt all these uncomfortable feelings and you pulled through anyways, and eventually, you start to win.
That's what growth looks like, and it starts with being uncomfortable.