You understand resilience when giving up is not an option




1. The capacity to recover quicky from difficulties; toughness


2. The ability of a substance or object to spring back into shape; elasticity. 


How resilient are you? How many times have you started and then given up on things in your life? Probably many times, right? As Charlie Brown Jr.’s song says (a great Brazilian band), “Cada escolha uma renuncia isso é a vida” “With every choice, other doors close, that is life.” We give up, change focus, choose something else and simply move in another direction.

Have you done that exercise where you ask yourself where you would be if you had not given up on something? Think of something you gave up and be honest with yourself.

Of course, a lot of choices have got us here, and in the majority of cases, that’s not a bad thing. But there are certainly other things that we fail to do out of sheer laziness or difficulties that could have been easily overcome. What if you had never dropped out of English classes? What if you hadn’t abandoned the Jiu Jitsu that you liked so much? What if you hadn’t stopped playing sports for so long? What if you hadn’t abandoned that healthy diet?

In these situations, you would now be a black belt, fluent in English, super healthy and within your ideal weight. But giving up these things goes far beyond that – they define whether you will achieve things in life or not, as they are tied directly to a word that is common in almost every success story I know: resilience!

Things are not easy, at least not the things we want so badly. I remember a moment in my life where I had to decide whether to give up or not. I was in the middle of an MMA fight (probably the toughest I’ve ever had) against the American, Mark Kerr who weighed 30 kg more than me. The fight was programmed to last 30-minute without stopping. The fight started, and just as expected I was fighting on the bottom, but the difference in strength and size was huge, so my strategy was to hold him in my guard and wait for an opportunity. After 18 minutes of fighting I was exhausted (it was the third fight of the night and the final of the tournament), I felt like I had been doing 120kg leg presses for 18 minutes without stopping, and my legs burned with tiredness. I looked at my corner and asked how much time was left. They told me 12 minutes. It felt like an eternity and I wasn’t sure I was going to make it to the end! My head, which was defending head butts and punches from all sides, wondered if maybe it was time to give up. For a moment I realized that I had done enough that night, that it was ok if I stopped. These thoughts enter everyone’s mind at some point, but at the moment of suffocation, the difference is that they are removed from the minds of champions.

I grew up with Jiu Jitsu and being in that situation represented everything I ever believed. How many heroes had gone through that, I would have to honor them. To give up, was simply not an option.  When I convinced myself that this would not happen under any circumstance – that I would get out of that situation whatever the outcome, everything changed! That human effort I was feeling, the lack of strength in my burning legs and the fast-paced heartbeat gave way to a certain calm, a kind of tranquility. The fear of losing was gone and those remaining 12 minutes were much calmer.  I lost the fight on the judges’ decision, but you have no idea what a win that felt like. Giving up the things that matter is simply not an option. Not giving up has made me conquer everything that I have achieved so far regardless of the difficulties.

Defeats are part of the path and are necessary for our learning but losing to ourselves is devastating. Today there are some things that I gave up in the past that I miss. I humbly return to them and dedicate myself without blame, understanding that doing the best I can is really worth it. Regardless of your situation today, try to cultivate your resilience with everything you apply yourself to. This is the path to success and will give you moments of real happiness on the journey.

Try to make smart choices and commit to what you really want. There is a slogan that I used in my gym for many years and although I haven’t used it for a long time, it’s embedded in my very core. I’ll give it to you too….


A big hug Fabio Gurgel


Uma opinião sobre “You understand resilience when giving up is not an option

  • 12 de novembro de 2019 em 19:59

    I understand your concern and my only argument in favor of introducing this is that I believe Fabio can be made more resilient when something nasty, like what I described, happens.


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