In a Gist: This is a book for your inner warrior. For those who feel like that they have something to fight for, Ronda Rousey, an Ultimate Fighting Championship winner (and the first woman who ever participated in that league), has written a motivational guide book for that relentless fighter spirit we all just might have inside of us.
Read This Book: If you need some supportive push to break boundaries, self-imposed or otherwise.
How I Came Across this Book:
I love reading magazines, and one of my favourite magazines is ELLE. It’s on the Books pages of ELLE US magazine that I came across the recommendation for this book. It was on a short article on books that tells the story of strong women, basically my favourite book genre ever. So I looked it up on Google Playbook and decided to read the sample. I couldn’t get the sample out of my mind, so after a while, I decided to buy the whole book, too.
So What Is This Book About?
Like the title suggests, the book tells the struggles of Ronda Rousey, and how we can all learn some lessons from her fight to apply to our own fight.
Ronda is now quite well-known for being a mixed martial art (MMA) athlete, a professional wrestler with the WWE, and one of the first women who participated in the Ultimate Fighting Championship in the United States. But long before all that success, she was a young woman hell-bent on being the best judoka in the world from her country, inspired by her mother who was also an athlete and one of her first mentors. That proved to take longer and so much more energy and sacrifices than she had ever thought it would. But Ronda is nothing if not a fighter.
She took us on a journey from being trained at all the different clubs and trainers, having to go through all kinds of championships and the Olympic, having to make sure that she weigh properly all the times during fighting times, to being on the fight itself and having to be so focused and controlled, and having to weather all the personal distractions, including all the crappy boyfriends she got obsessed with and bad personal relationships stages that she went through with everyone from her mother to her trainer.
During each of those moments, she wrote beautifully, with pronounced and moving reflections on every page. It was way more poetic and deep than I could ever hope or expected from a motivational book by a female athlete. The book gives me an almost full view of Ronda’s soul as a woman: deeply feeling and often insecure, obsessively ambitious, committed and passionate about being the best in what she does, yet always so vulnerable. It was a total privilege to read this woman champion’s story, and an absolute thrill to learn how to fight from a woman who fought again and again to come out a winner in her own version.
My Favorite Lines from the Book (there are so many, btw!)
- The truth is you need a big heart to fight. (p.17)
- As kids we’re taught to dream big and to think everything is possible: Win the Olympics. Be president. And then you grow up. People talk about how I’m so arrogant. They don’t realize how much work went into getting where I am. I worked so hard to be able to think highly of myself. When people say, “Oh, you’re so cocky. You’re so arrogant,” I feel like they’re telling me that I think too highly of myself. My question for them is: “Who are you to tell me that I need to think less of myself?” (p.141)
- I have been booed in thirty countries. I have been booed following UFC victories. I’m more used to being booed by a crowd than I am being cheered. I have never been a fan favorite. Pretty much my entire competitive career has been defined by people hoping to see me lose. But there are moments where no matter who you are or what you represent, people will be so impressed by what they see that they will forget everything else. If the performance is great enough, nothing else matters. My mom says that to be the best in the world, you need to be able to beat anyone twice on your worst day. (p. 145 – 146)
- When you’re in the middle of the hustle, there are going to be times when your life is complete shit and you’ve got absolutely nothing to show for the effort you’ve put in. I don’t just mean tough times, but the moments when you have to swallow your pride and check your ego. I’m talking about the kind of times where, if it were happening to someone else, you would silently be thanking God that it wasn’t happening to you. There were times when I knew that I was in a terrible situation, but I also knew that it wouldn’t last forever. Those are the moments when you have to remind yourself that this experience is a defining moment in your life, but you are not defined by it. (p. 159)
- Champions do more than people who think that they’ve done more. (p. 204)
- The days were all soreness, sweat, the stench of my car, and constant wet hair. I didn’t mind it. I was in the middle of the hustle, and I understood that in order to be successful this was what I needed to do. I needed to practice more than anyone on the planet. I needed to be smarter and stronger and go longer. I needed to be at the gym when other people were merely thinking about going to the gym. I needed to go beyond what anyone else thought was reasonable and then go beyond that. (p. 207)
- Aristotle said, “We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence then is not an act, but a habit.” Winning is a habit, and so is losing. You can get into the habit of going into a tournament, a meeting, or an audition telling yourself: This is just for practice. If I fail, I can always try again later. If you go in with your excuses already laid out for you, it’s hard to shake that mindset when “later” finally comes. Or you can go into every endeavor with the attitude that you are going to knock this one out of the park. You can tell yourself: I am bringing my A-game because that is the only grade of game that I have. I am here to win, and you can come along for the ride or you can get the hell out of the way. (p. 237)
- Winning is a habit means trying—and expecting—to be better than everybody in the world every day. (p.237)
- No one had believed the UFC would ever admit women. Not fans. Not other fighters. Not the media. Not my mom. Not the face of the UFC himself. People told me it would never happen. They told me I was insane. But you can’t let other people affect your belief in yourself. People are going to tell you to be logical and to be reasonable. They’re going to say that because no one else has ever done something, that it can’t be done. You have to be crazy enough to believe that you are the one person in the history of the world who can create that change or accomplish that dream. Many people are going to doubt you and tell you reasons why you can’t and why you shouldn’t. You can choose to accept them or reject them. I had ignored everyone who said it could never be done. Now I was going to be the first woman ever in the UFC. (p. 252)
- To win, you have to be willing to die. If you are willing to die when you fight, if you are giving absolutely everything you have for every single second you are in there, you are going to separate yourself. (p. 265)
- In every match, there is a second when the gold medal is up for grabs. The only way to make sure that you are the one who grabs it is to make sure that you fight every single second of that match. (p. 271)
- When something bad happens to me, I get mad and then I get motivated. (p. 277)
- In the moments that you fall hardest—when you lose a job, or find out a boyfriend is cheating on you, or realize that you made a bad financial decision—you can channel your shame, your anger, your desire, your loss. You can learn, take chances, change course. You can choose to become so successful that no one can ever put you in a situation like that again. (p. 277)