Watching Conor McGregor fight, and lose by submission to Nate Diaz the other week gave me pause for thought on the subject of humility.
Conor McGregor was larger than life. He was undefeated, kept going up through the weight divisions, and thinking he was going to take over the world. It reminds me how I used to go through life, leading with the chin; at the beginning of my days, every day, I swore I could handle anything. I was unstoppable - particularly when I drank and used. In my mind, I could leap tall buildings in a single bound, I had put on a couple of inches in height, was a black belt in any martial art, and was god's gift to women. I genuinely thought all attractive girls wanted to be with me, no exceptions. That was the place my mind took me when I was high.
But we are only on top of the world, until we are not. Saturday March 5th, Conor McGregor was no longer unstoppable. With a Jiu Jitsu submission in the second round, Diaz finally brought McGregor off his podium. In the post-fight analysis, it was so nice to finally see McGregor comment properly on his fight, analyze his errors, and admit that he was not top of the world - rather than witness his usual post-fight crowing, bragging, and sizing up to the next potential opponent.
McGregor at least had a hell of a lot of skill behind all that arrogance. He just took it a weight division too far. I wish I could say the same for me! My arrogance used to get me defeated and beat down over and over again. It also got me back in jail again and again. I didn't think I had to do what anyone told me - not my parents, not the police, not my parole officer. All I did was what I wanted to do. I thought I was top dog, and I acted it. This was a dangerous level of arrogance, and I maintained it for years. I feel like I am a lot more humble today, than I was before. However I still have a tendency to want to tell the tough, macho, exciting stories of my illegal past, and not really tell the raw and the naked truth of the highs and lows of alcoholism and drug use.
The truth of the matter is, I don't feel so comfortable telling the more intimate stories, and letting people see the darker side. I don't like people to realize that this nice guy in front of them lied, cheated, and stole. I was not interested in helping others, just taking for myself. I have a handicapped niece, who has been in a wheelchair since she was 7 years old. While she was a teenager, I remember I would steal her laptop, games consoles, etc - stuff that kept that innocent little girl happy - and I would hawk it for cash or dope. That's an example of nasty stuff I did that I don't like to share. It doesn't make me look macho, or fun, or cool. However my real liberty now comes from admitting to that, and making reparation for that.
Now, I can use those stories to demonstrate how twisted life can be and how warped your thinking and actions can get when tanked up on alcohol or loaded on drugs. Now, I can get over my macho mouth, and make an effort to fix that.
Humility is the key element needed to learn from others, and learn in life. It provides a proper, healthy way of looking at life. It has been a long rocky road to get to this stage, and it often takes a loss to gain a win. Oddly, I feel a lot better about myself now that I can admit I'm not the superhero that I went round assuming I was before. Likewise, I think Conor McGregor will go into his next fight a smarter and better fighter due to not starting from the cocky undefeated position he was previously in. At least, I hope he has the sense to!