It Takes Less Energy To Win


I just got back from a class of Brazilian Jiu Jitsu. In fact, I’m all sweaty as I write this, but I just had an enormous insight I want to share with you.

Today was a tough class and I’m relatively out of shape. And, lo & behold, the Master Chen decided it would be a perfect time to have us fight for the entire class, instead of showing us new techniques.

I had spent the last 10 minutes of the class fighting with a couple of guys who were about 100kg (220 pounds). After a 1 minute rest, I was up again, this time against a blue belt who’s a weight category above me. The problem is, I was absolutely shattered. Although I agreed to fight the last 5 minute round, my body was shaking.

Then it occurred to me. Just before the final round, I realised something which is obvious in retrospect, but I had never seen it this way before…

It Takes Less Energy To Win A Fight Than It Does To Lose. 

My normal default at this point in the game – the last round when I’m absolutely shattered would be to ‘let the other guy win’ because I just want to survive! Just as that would be a terrible strategy in real life situation, it is also not a great strategy in the gym.

You see, in Jiu Jitsu, the guy who is losing is the one in an inferior position – ie. the other guy is sitting on top of you with all of their body weight. But, the guy who’s ‘winning’ has the luxury of putting all of their body weight on the other guy. In a ‘winning’ position, you can essentially rest. In a ‘losing’ position, you absolutely cannot rest – even if you’re not moving, you’re spending energy just trying to breath.

To get into a ‘winning’ position does indeed require a burst of energy, and it requires you to think strategically. That seems like a lot of effort. However, you’ll be thinking anyway, even if you’re underneath. You’ll be thinking ‘how do I get this annoying git off me?!’. And, you’ll spend bursts of energy trying to escape.

Plus, once you’re in the superior position, it’s smooth sailing. You just need to stay there, which is a lot easier and requires a lot less energy. The guy underneath will try to escape, but staying in a superior position is way easier than escaping from an inferior position.

How Does This Apply To Life?

It takes less energy to save than it does to waste money on stuff you don’t need and then get stressed about it.

It takes less energy to workout each day than it does to suffer the consequences of poor health & fitness.

It takes less energy to find your perfect partner than it does to be single & constantly on the prowl.

It takes less energy to acquire clients than it does to worry about not having enough clients.

It takes less energy to upgrade your life with a daily spiritual practice than it does to miss your daily practice.

It takes less energy to win the game of life than it does to lose.

Ultimately, by putting in the extra effort to focus on winning the game of jiujitsu, I survived the last 5 minute round, and spent most of the time in a superior or equal position. Don’t get me wrong, the blue belt guy still beat me in the end – he was a better fighter – but I spent less energy fighting because I spent more time ‘winning’.

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