How to Tell if You’re Destined for Success in Wrestling

Dennis Gym Tampines

There are only 10 weeks left to the end of the year. It’s the final quarter of 2020, which means Grapple MAX is turning 4 real soon. As co-founder and coach of this little wrestling dojo in Singapore, I’ve personally trained hundreds of people from the time we launched in 2016. It’s been lots of fun, but more than that, it’s also given me an intimate perspective into the factors that can be used to extrapolate someone’s success.

What I’m Not Satisfied About in Life

My dissatisfaction with life is that we’ve only got 1 life. Are you really content with not knowing what lies behind all the other doors you’ve chosen to not open? I find it hard to live with that. Have you not once fantasised about having your cake, and eating 2 or 3 more too?

It led me to experiment with hacking my own brain. And so I simultaneously juggled multiple careers, multiple portfolios, multiple relationships, squeezing in 7 to 8 lifetimes’ worth of permutated experiences into the same amount of time as everyone else.

Winning Is Addictive

By many conventional measures I’ve tasted success in these endeavours. It gives your mind a positive reward. So your mind learns. It learns what it needs to do to generate that positive reward consistently. Success and winning are incredible sensations, and I am a junkie for that shit.

Success fascinates me. In an educational context I am intrigued by overachievers – defined as people who perform at a higher level than their IQ would indicate. It’s like saying, “Your IQ is just really average, what are you doing producing this sort of amazing results?” I wanted to be part of the overachievers. (As opposed to underachievers, which goes like, “Yo your IQ is perfectly average, how come your results are way below par?”)

The Growth Mindset for Success

Achieving success is a scientific, replicable process, accessible to extremely ordinary people. Luck plays a part but believing it’s the only factor in success means surrendering. You know who surrenders? Losers.

So, taking luck out of the equation, what areas of your mindset can you control to increase your probability of success?

I believe the biggest predictor of success is your mindset. There are 2 broad categories of mindsets. People with growth mindsets believe things can change. People with fixed mindsets don’t. Those with growth mindsets believe they can acquire skills and improve. And those with fixed mindsets believe what they’re born with is all they’ll have.

Here are some factors common among growth mindsets. If you already have some of these traits, good!

1. Discipline

Showing up for training at the dojo week in and week out is not easy. Your other commitments and distractions get in the way. When you’re tired, when you’re having a bad day, do you still turn up without fail? That’s a key difference. Not a surprise that the ones who go furthest in their in-ring careers are also the ones who make it a part of their routine to show up at the dojo regularly.

2. No Excuses

Excuses are related to fixed mindsets. People who make excuses are communicating that they’re uninterested in success. Excuses are a form of self sabotage. When I give a trainee feedback and he or she chooses to blame their opponent or anything else, it says their ego is more important to them than becoming better. So, take ownership of your life and win.

3. Experimentation

To experiment is to take risks, which means failure is possible. But it’s a growth mindset trait. I encourage trainees to try out different things to see what works for them. Have you gradually evolved your wardrobe, move set, fighting style, etc? The best wrestlers innovate constantly. Without experimentation an act can get stale pretty quickly. Don’t get left behind by turning into a one-trick pony.

4. Feedback

Do you proactively seek out feedback? Make use of your coaches. I’m more than happy to give detailed and personalised feedback, but only when asked because not everyone is ready for change. Fixed mindset wrestlers limit their progress by being closed to feedback. You can get feedback from the market, from your income, from the way people react to you. Your choice to act on it.

5. Perseverance

John Cena has made a brand out of “never give up”. I think this may possibly be the most important determinant of success. When you quit before achieving your goal, you’re saying that you can’t acquire the skills necessary to bridge that gap between your current position and your objective. On your way to success you’ll find the aborted careers of other athletes. Press on.


Notice that none of the above discusses talent or innate ability. Because relying solely on talent or ability is a fixed mindset trait. It says, “because I’m born with these skills, I will always be better than my competition.” I’ve seen gifted athletes engineer their own downfall and piss it all away. A trainee with a growth mindset will eventually surpass those with talent but a fixed mindset.

The Ladykiller is a 2-time international wrestling champion and co-founder of Southeast Asia’s #1 pro wrestling school, Grapple MAX. Based in Singapore.

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