In episode 860, retired mixed martial artist Kenny Florian, shares with us his perspective on creating your life out of passion. He speaks about living a life true to ourselves despite fear and social pressure, and how important it is to understand that we’ve only got one life.
Kenny shares with us his near-death experience while in the mountains of Brazil. It was an experience that helped him realize what his true purpose in life is.
He was hiking with some friends in Rio de Janeiro when he slipped on wet moss and rolled off the edge of a cliff. He free-fell until he hit a rock ledge, landing on his back. Even his friends presumed him to be dead. He shares how the moments sliding to what he figured would be his death, were filled with flashes of his life and regrets all becoming clear to him.
It was a quiet, reflective hike the rest of the way down the mountain, but he realized how much disappointment he felt with his life. When he realized that it could have ended right then and there, he had regret for living an inauthentic life. He knew that martial arts were his passion and life was way too fragile to push that dream away.
At this time, martial arts wasn’t recognized and he got ridiculed for it. After his near-death experience, however, life gained a new perspective and other people’s opinions didn’t matter.
He divorced his wife and left his job to pursue martial arts. Pretty radical changes, but he links them to his experience while hiking. It’s a gift to have these pivotal moments in life to set us on the path we were always meant to take.
He kept letting his heart and passion guide him. He even lost friends by this new nature of his life in fighting. If we are operating out of passion we will always find a way to keep going. We will always have inner creativity and we will always find a way to make it work.
Many of us care too deeply about the opinions of others. It’s not easy just to tell ourselves that it doesn’t matter on the whole, but there are ways that we can rewrite the narrative that tells us we can’t or shouldn’t do something. First, having a passion can help drown out those voices. This is why creating your life out of passion ends up being your most authentic life. We end up doing what we want to do instead of what others want us to do.
Passion comes from the meaning of something. When you push through suffering repeatedly, you get purpose and reason to live. You might not always love the results but possibly the driving force is to get better, evolve, and learn.
Why would we change ourselves for an insane society?
What’s our authentic vision for ourselves?
Why do we customize ourselves for others? Who is to say that they’re right?
Most people didn’t know what UFC would be what it is today but Kenny stuck to his “crazy”.
It’s also important to understand that most people have good intentions for questioning what we’re doing. They want to keep us safe but they don’t know us and we need to lean into ourselves. How many great things have been achieved by those who think like “normal” people? Normal is average.
Something Kenny learned from martial arts is how much work is necessary to succeed and that there is just so much beneath the surface. You must first defeat yourself.
When going into a fight, you must defeat the voice that says you can’t do it. Before you can begin to continue the fight of your life, you need to defeat that lying voice. Think about how the hardest thing is the fight in your mind before you do something scary. The hardest thing is the fight in your mind during that long run. Defeat the weaker voice that’s trying to protect you first. Defeat it, and keep defeating.
It’s incredible what Kenny achieved by focusing on creating a life out of passion. A concept you can put in your tool belt now, is how death is the reminder that life can end at any moment, why wouldn’t you want what fills you up? What’s the guiding force long-term? Let that passion drive your life and not the fears, worries, and shoulds. Continue creating your life out of that passion.
You can find Kenny Florian on Instagram @kennyflorian. Check out his website https://kennyflorianmartialarts.com/ Or follow him on YouTube https://www.youtube.com/c/KennyFlorian