GB Inspiration: Prof. Flavio Almeida on overcoming struggles

“There’s something inside of us that keeps moving us to struggles because we know that in the greatest sacrifices there are the greatest joys.”
This week on GB Blog we bring you an inspiring message from the archives. Prof. Flavio Almeida gave this talk on the occasion of the celebration of the 10th anniversary of the Gracie Barra San Clemente school.
Prof. Flavio shares his thoughts about the value of struggle and why we should choose to embrace struggle instead of thinking of it purely as a negative in both our jiu-jitsu and our lives.
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Original video:

Prof, Flavio:
“I believe that 10 years old for our martial arts school is an amazing accomplishment, To have over 30 black belts that have been developed on these mats – it is an amazing accomplishment. Hundreds of families that have been through those mats and have been positively impacted by our work are amazing accomplishments. 400 students is an amazing accomplishment. To become one of the top five Gracie Barra schools in the world and to serve as a model that everybody wants to be like is an amazing moment.
But those things mean nothing if you’re not paired up with their equivalent struggles.
And I think the best way for you guys to understand that is the person that goes to a jiu-jitsu tournament and then there are no fights in his bracket because there’s nobody. Then you’re given a medal. How much is that medal worth?
Zero, because it’s not the accomplishment that means anything. It is the equivalent struggle that you have been able to overcome that means everything.
The story of Gracie Barra San Clemente when you look from the outside in is the story of unbelievable accomplishments.
It’s broken records in so many different ways. But then, if you dig through the surface and you try to see what’s underneath it, what you will find is I mean believable amount of struggles/ that have been overcome.
You’re all struggling with something. I am. You are. It’s part of human existence.
Our culture is constantly teaching us that we should avoid struggles. That we should avoid discomfort.
That we should try to be successful so you one day you put yourself in a position that then what happens when you are successful, there’s no more struggle.
That’s what our culture is teaching our kids. That our culture is teaching us every single day. But there is something inside of us it doesn’t accept.
There’s something inside of us that keeps moving us to struggles because we know that in the greatest sacrifices there are the greatest joys.
The rewards that you get for being successful as an athlete, as a business owner. You know, the athletes feel good, but they’re not the source of happiness. Not money, the medals, the car, is not big houses. The biggest source of all happiness joy and fulfillment in life comes from two things. They both come from the struggles that were willing to face head-on.
Number one is the overcoming of that struggle and number two is the relationships you build by trying to overcome that struggle.
The story of Gracie Barra San Clemente is a story of incredible struggles and I was thinking to myself: What are the five biggest struggles that we’ve been through?
I’d like to share that with you guys. But before I get there, let me talk about this meaning of struggle. What is the struggle?
The struggle is nothing but a call for personal sacrifice so you can become the person you should be.
So whatever the struggle you’re dealing with right now – maybe you’re trying to fix a relationship.
If you’re trying to get a black belt. Maybe you want to be the next World Champion.
Maybe you want to have more students. Maybe you’re trying to save your business from bankruptcy.
Life has put that right in front of you to invite you to grow into the person you are. If you are willing to make sacrifices, to sacrifice who you are with the person you want to be.
So we should ignore what the culture teaches us – to avoid struggles – and we should embrace it.
Because we know that at the end of their life and they’ll find the light on the end of that tunnel, there is going to be a much better version of yourself on the other side.
So the story of San Clemente is a story of struggles.”
See also on GB Blog: GB Student Question: “What do I look for in choosing a jiu-jitsu school?”
Writer: Mark Mullen, Gracie Barra Black Belt