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If it was easy everyone would do it!

By on May 22, 2015

Gustavo Dantas, is a fourth degree Black Belt in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu from Andre Pederneiras. With nearly 20 years of coaching experience and being a World Class competitor, Gustavo is a Public Speaker as well as Certified Mental & Life Coach with a Bachelor’s degree in Physical Education from UFRJ (Universidade Federal do Rio de Janeiro). Gustavo left Brazil in 1999 with a couple thousand dollars, two bags, and one teenage dream: to have his own 100% Jiu-Jitsu Academy and make his living through the passion of his life, Jiu-Jitsu. The Gustavo Dantas Jiu-Jitsu Academy was established in Tempe, Arizona on March 6th, 2012, re-enforcing the statement, “Believe in yourself, believe in your dreams. Hard work pays off”.

How many times have you been in a situation in which you said to yourself: “What else could go wrong?” Well I’ve learned over the years to replace this question with “If it was easy everyone would do it!” anytime I faced any type of challenge. I will explain why I put this question at the end of the post.

If you have been following my blog for a while now, most likely you’ve heard about my “How high can YOU fly?” project, which is to reach fifty points in the IBJJF Ranking system to qualify to compete at the Adult World Championship on May 30th & 31st in Long Beach, California.

The only reason why I set this high goal for myself was because IBJJF announced that you had to EARN your way to compete at the 2015 World Championship Black Belt Adult division. I feel that is the right way to do it and eventually, I assume, they will use the same system for all belts. If I could have just signed up online and compete, I would have no interest in competing in the tournament, but I was driven by the Challenge, the journey that it would be and how much I would be able grow from this experience.

During my exclusive “How high can YOU fly?” video blog available for free at www.thebjjmentalcoach.com, I broke down the three basic steps to achieve anything meaningful in Jiu-Jitsu and/or your personal and professional life.

I suggested to The BJJ Mental Coach supporters to pick a big challenging goal in any area of their lives, that is why it is called “How high can YOU fly?” This project is not about ME, it’s about inspiring YOU. When you follow these three steps, you can have incredible growth in your life.

Let me give you a quick run of each one:

1- Decision

The first thing you need to do is to make a decision. What do you want to accomplish? Most importantly, WHY do you want to accomplish this goal?

Someone might say: “To win the gold medal”. Winning is an outcome or a result.

What is your purpose? Why do you do what you do? What is driving you to invest your time and effort on this goal? You need to dig deep to figure out the Why.

Keep one quote in mind though: “If your dreams don’t scare you, they’re not big enough.”

Think about some of the big challenges that you have accepted in your life. If they were big you either, got overwhelmed by your negative self-talk and ended up talking yourself out of it, or you felt the fear and did it anyway.

2- Action

Munich1 “Inaction breeds doubt and fear. Action breeds confidence and courage. If you want to conquer fear, do not sit home and think about it. Go out and get busy.” Dale Carnegie

If you felt the fear and did it anyway, most likely you took some type of action. Besides preparing myself and managing my time well, one of the big actions that I took was actually competing, not necessarily once or twice, but however many times it would take to accomplish my goal.


This last statement leads to the third and most difficult step, persistence. I said: “…not necessarily once or twice, but however many times it would take to accomplish my goal.”

Were YOU persistent during YOUR last big challenge? Or did YOU gave up after a few tries?

3- Persistence

“Continuous effort – not strength or intelligence – is the key to unlocking our potential.” Winston Churchill

The first step is easy, you can make a decision but it doesn’t mean that you are going to act on it. The second one is harder, because you are actually working on your goal through acting. The third one is the toughest one.

Taking action is not just for one, two or three days…Taking action is UNTIL! Which means UNTIL you can’t go any further, UNTIL you are in peace with yourself knowing that you gave it all that you had.

Let me repeat John Wooden’s definition of success from my post “Did I earn my medal.”

“Success is peace of mind, which is a direct result of self-satisfaction in knowing you made the effort to do your best to become the best that you are capable of becoming.”

Most people failed in the third step, and you know why? Because “If it was easy, everyone would do it!”

On May 9th, I competed at the IBJJF Zurich International Open in Zurich, Switzerland. This was my fifth adult tournament in nine weeks and my final chance to reach the mandatory fifty points and reach my goal.

Have you ever had a goal that you knew that was going to be very difficult, but maybe might of underestimated a little? Yep, that was me! 🙂 What about obstacles? What were your biggest ones?

My two biggest obstacles to achieve my goal were: managing my busy entrepreneur schedule, and the biggest one, the physical aspect.

The Black Belt Adult division is a different animal. There are only a few competitors over forty years old who are still “throwing down” with the young guns. Competitors like Wellington “Megaton” Dias, who is a big inspiration for the Jiu-Jitsu community and Carlos Farias, both from Arizona.

I lost to one of the current best European athletes, Ilke Bulut, by one advantage (0x0). Ilke is a young talent from Switzerland who recently has won the lightweight division in Munich, London, and Paris International Open. Ilke also had a great performance last month in Rome against one of the best feather/light weights in the World, Bruno Frazzato, by referee’s decision 0x0.

Let me describe to you the three steps of my journey:

Step one; I’ve made the decision to attempt qualifying to the Worlds.

Step two; I took action and accumulated forty-two points. Here is my competition campaign and the link to the blog posts:

IMG_16931Long Beach International Open – 1st place (Feather) 27 points

Munich International Open – 2nd place (Feather) 9 points

2015 Pan Championship – No podium (Feather) 0 point

Rome International Open – 3rd place (Light) 3 points

Gothenburg International Open – 3rd place (Light) 3 points

There was a problem during the process. An old elbow injury that bothered me again after the 2014 Worlds Masters, started to aggravate again this year. With every new month it became more and more inflamed, and finally after the Gothenburg Open in Sweden, I couldn’t deal with it anymore and I went to the doctor. I found out that I have some Bone spurs in my elbow, which are usually caused by local inflammation, such as from degenerative arthritis and/or tendonitis (I have both).

I had to take a few steps back and make another decision: “Should I move on? Or Should I stop?” What would YOU have done in this situation?

You would have to think about everything that you have sacrificed for this goal and how much it meant to you. Take one phrase in consideration to your decision: “If it was easy everyone would do it!”

I made my decision. I took a Cortisone shot in my elbow on May 1st, signed up for the Zurich Open and arranged my trip in search of the eight points that I needed to accomplish my goal.

But what else could go wrong? I already took a big needle in my elbow. Well, I’ve arrived in Switzerland on Wednesday May 6th. On May 7th I woke up with the symptoms of a cold, which got worse by the 9th.

I woke up on the competition day and told myself: “If it was easy, everyone would do it”. I used every mental skills technique that I knew to prepare myself for the match; I was mentally ready, but not physically. I didn’t have energy to get the win, but this single match placed me in second place and gave me the nine points necessary to qualify me to the 2015 Adult World Championship with fifty one points!


Some people may say: “That is stupid! Damaging your elbow and compromising your health because of a tournament???”

I understand that Cortisone shots are NOT the best option in the long term, it’s just a quick fix. This was the second time in my career that I’ve done this. Matter of fact, I took a shot in the same elbow before the 2011 Abu Dhabi Trials, but this time it didn’t work as well. Again, what would YOU have done it? Your answer should be based on your WHY, the purpose of your goal.

What gave me strength was my why, and I was willing to pay the price to reach my goal. If you currently know the WHY of your goal, you probably understand where I’m coming from.


This outcome can be positive or negative, but the amount of emotional, intellectual, physical and/or spiritual growth involved in this journey is priceless!

SPEAKER: Gustavo Dantas@BJJMentalCoach

via thebjjmentalcoach.com

Competition pictures courtesy of www.ibjjf.org


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