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The Value of Failure

Like many others around the world, I waited with bated breath for the outcome of the Ultimate Fighting Championship 254 bout between Khabib “The Eagle” Nurmagomedov and Justin “The Highlight” Gaethje.

True to form, Khabib won the fight alhamdulillah and in a surprise move, announced his retirement saying he had promised his mother that this would be his last fight.

Khabib Nurmagomedov vs Justin Gaethje

I’m not a fan of the UFC, but I always make an exception when Khabib’s name comes up. It’s not so much his prowess in the octagon, but the way he carries himself outside it. This has won him many admirers, including Malaysia’s own Minister in the Prime Minister’s Department, Datuk Dr Zulkifli Mohamad al-Bakri, who wrote about the lessons we can all learn from Khabib’s career, namely:

  1. Obey your parents
  2. Pray to God always
  3. Success is followed by the ‘sujud syukur’ (prostration of gratitude)
  4. Never boast
  5. Retire when you’re at the top
  6. Respected by friends and foes

Learning from failure

One thing that struck me after the victory, however, was this interview with Justin Gaethje. I quote:

Interviewer: You said something to him when he was down on the floor, obviously…very emotional…talk us through it, what did you, what words did you offer him?

Justin: I said, I haven’t had a chance to tell you that I’m so sorry for your Dad’s loss, but you just made your father really proud.

Interviewer: That says a lot about yourself as well, the way that you operate, my man, and it was nice to hear Khabib pay you that compliment as well afterwards…

You really should watch the video of the interview:

How a person carries himself/herself in the aftermath of failure tells you a lot about their true character. I hope more people can learn from this.

Failure is not the end of the line. There’s no shame in failure if you have given it your best. Take it on the chin, or in Justin’s case, wake up from the ‘sweet dream’ after a choke, get right back up and have another go at it. Good luck!

Update:

Instagram post from Khabib. True champion.

By Imran Idris

I am a husband, father, son, neurologist, neuroscientist-in-training, Tolkien-fan, and owner of two toy wombats named Mulder and Scully.