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'We could all learn a lot from Conor McGregor's self belief'

Imagine if we could all focus on adopting a mindset like McGregor’s and feeding it into our everyday lives, writes Andrew McGinley.

Andrew McGinley

IF YOU EVER feel short of inspiration, have a little listen to Conor McGregor speaking.

Yes you read correctly, listen to himWhether his antics inspire you or disturb you, there is no denying the potential effect hearing this man’s verbal prowess in action can have on one’s mindset.

Despite proudly bearing the Irish flag at the pinnacle of sport, the two time champion has not been short of his critics. He is often criticised solely for his antics outside the octagon, where he continuously bombards TV cameras with the type of super-ego trash talk not viewed since Muhammad Ali was in his prime.

Not afraid to ruffle some feathers

Quite often misconceived as heinous acts of arrogance, his infamously boastful remarks and predictions have been ruffling feathers ever since he kicked his way onto the world stage of mixed martial arts a little under three years ago.

UFC 196 Dos Anjos Injured Source: AP/Press Association Images

Arrogance and confidence are unparalleled. An arrogant fighter assumes he will defeat all his opponents and that he superior to them, and more often than not will fail to follow up. McGregor knows he is the best, he knows he will win.

Here in Ireland, traits such as confidence and self belief are regularly misinterpreted. So, it’s not surprising to witness some of the negative media attention McGregor has amassed already in his career, particularly from people in his homeland.

A recent article in a supplement of the Sunday Independent, branded him as “cocky” and “arrogant”. It even went on to suggest that he “appears to be devoid of any kind of moral compass”.

Other tabloid publications regularly try and highlight his obsession with materialism, posting pictures of him with his ‘fleet’ of expensive cars and and making trivial accusations about his interest in firearms. Of course they choose to ignore any meaningful news about his fighting or training.

Conor McGregor coin request Source: Brian Lawless

Attitudes such as this have left many of us intimidated by the notion of acknowledging or embracing our own achievements, goals and abilities. Instead we feel the need to play them down, in fear of what people might say. It is such sentiments that cause the majority of us to continuously doubt ourselves. Like a virus, such doubt continues to grow, preventing us from reaching our true potential in whatever field we desire to excel in.

A reservoir of self belief

McGregor has never had any qualms about embracing his vast reservoir of self belief. A 2008 interview in Dublin shows a baby faced Conor setting his goals remarkably high; “My dream is to be world champion of the UFC and to have more money than I know what to do with”.

Just eight years later, he is on course to convincingly dominate three weight divisions at once and is rumoured to have signed a record breaking deal which will see him earn $100 million in three years. A prime example of just how far one can go when pushed along by the power generated from truly believing in oneself, balanced with incredibly hard work.

Conor continuously makes acutely specific predictions on how he will end his fights, down to what round he will knock out his opponent and often exactly what way the fight will end. Time and time again these predictions have materialised. Like when he said he would “butcher” Chad Mendes in the second round, and did.

UFC 194 Mixed Martial Arts Source: John Locher

Or when he said he would knock out Dustin Porier, Diego Brandao and most bizarrely the undefeated Jose Aldo all in the first round. Each of them succumbed to his thunderous right hook like he said, in the first round, including Aldo who lasted just thirteen seconds.

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These consistently correct forecasts which have seen him brand himself as ”Mystic Mac” are by no means a fluke. McGregor plays out these fights hundreds and thousands of times in his head without a single element of doubt creeping into his psyche.

By the time he steps in the octagon, he knows precisely what he has to do. He visualises nothing but triumph. His confidence is such that he spends barely any time of his pre fight training preparing specifically for his opponent, like most fighters do.

He fully believes in himself

Instead Conor chooses to focus solely on the one element of the fight he has full control over and fully believes in, himself; “There is no Jose Aldo. Who the f**k is Jose Aldo? There’s no no one. It’s you and yourself. You’re fighting yourself”.

Ahead of his bout against Nate Diaz, this Saturday night at UFC 196, Conor has maintained his typical but ever surprising approach. Diaz, who stands in to replace Rafael Dos Anjos who withdrew with a broken foot, apparently refused to accept the fight at McGregor’s weight of 155lb and requested it at 165lb. Dana White, president of the UFC has claimed that McGregor’s response to the request was, “You tell him it’s 170″.

Imagine if we could all focus on adopting a mindset like McGregor’s and feeding it into our everyday lives.

Maybe not to the extent of declaring that you are a beast and proving it by trying to “butcher” someone, there are more than enough lads exhibiting such acts outside your local nightclub every Saturday night. I’m talking about simply implementing a more confident approach to whatever it is you are passionate about and genuinely believing in it. The benefits would be endless.

If we don’t have the ability to believe ourselves that we are great, then who will?

Andrew McGinley is a 21-year-old blogger from County Galway. You can follow his blog here.  

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