This photo is the last one I ever took with my father. We were at breakfast surrounded by Muay Thai…
10 Things I Learned (Again) In 2019
At the end of every year, I like to reflect deeply on the year and write down some of my key lessons on life. For 2019, most of these learnings are recurring ones, and some of them are new.
1) People are inherently good.
I experienced so much kindness, love, and support from family, friends, acquaintances, fans, athletes, and even strangers in 2019. Do not let the bad apples in this world taint your belief in humanity. Of course, there are bad apples everywhere, but they are the rare minority. Humans are good. There really is goodness in everyone. I think it is important to remember that everyone was once a baby. Babies are born with purity, innocence, and goodness in their hearts. This essence is innate in all of us. I truly believe it.
2) Grit is everything.
The person who is willing to endure the most suffering for his/her dreams is the one who is most likely to achieve them. It does not matter what career it is, or what the goals are. The difference between success and failure in life is a very, very, very thin line. No matter who you are, life will eventually kick you in the ass at some point and make you question everything. What you do in those moments will dictate the trajectory of your life. It is always good to remember that winners never quit, and quitters never win. Never give up on the people and things that you love, especially your dreams. If you are unwilling to fight through the worst days of your life, then you do not deserve the best days of your life.
3) Adversity is the mother of greatness.
Never in a million years would I have believed that my life would be what it is today. I went through so many dark days over the course of my life. I have had many failures, heartbreaks, disappointments, setbacks, and tears. I have also had opportunities to quit on myself when I was down and out, but I somehow always got back up (often through the help of family and friends). Today, I look back on all of the toughest days of my life with so much gratitude and appreciation. Without those days, I would not have achieved the success I have today. You see, adversity teaches us what no university degree can. It teaches us the critical ingredients to success: humility, strength, hunger, grit, compassion, intellectual honesty, tenacity, work ethic, courage, learning, growth, and so much more.
4) No one succeeds alone.
I have been the recipient of many blessings in life, especially the phenomenal people in my life. First and foremost, I am full of gratitude to the most amazing woman in the world, Clara. Without her love, wisdom, advice, and support, I would be nothing. She is my love, my best friend, and my partner in everything. Thank you to Saurabh, my best buddy from Harvard. We were among the poorest kids at Harvard over 20+ years ago, but we both somehow managed to make it. The coolest thing is that we have always helped each other every step of the way. It is embarrassing to admit, but we have spoken on the phone almost every week without fail since 1997 until today. I am so thankful that we are together on this extraordinary adventure called ONE Championship. Thank you also to everyone at Sequoia Capital, Temasek Holdings, GIC, Iconiq, Heliconia, and Greenoaks for your leadership, strategic advice, friendship, support, and belief. ONE Championship is blessed to have some of the world’s smartest blue chip institutional investors as partners. You guys have been absolutely instrumental in building what will be Asia’s greatest multibillion dollar sports media property in history. Thank you to Team ONE, the most incredible sports media team on the planet! It boggles my mind how Team ONE is full of the most amazing superstars, rockstars, dreamers, achievers, rebels, adventurers, mavericks, and originals. I am so blessed to serve you as your leader. Most importantly, thank you to the world championship athletes and incredible fans of ONE Championship for everything you do to make us the greatest promotion on Earth!
5) No one is perfect.
We all make mistakes. We all fail. We all fall down. Nevertheless, we should always strive to do the right thing. Integrity is the foundation of greatness. Live your life in a way that would make your mom proud – even if she knew your worst moments. I am far from perfect (and I continue to make many mistakes in life, especially due to my nasty temper), but I always think about honoring my mom in everything I do. Without her, I would never have made it in life. Do the right thing even if no one is watching. I love you, Mom! Thank you for everything.
6) Karma takes care of everything.
Good luck blesses good people. Bad luck curses bad people. I have seen it over and over throughout my life. Over the course of my career, I have had people lie to me, steal from me, cheat me, badmouth me, backstab me, deceive me, betray me, and more. It is easy to become jaded, but I refuse to let these bad apples taint my belief in doing good for the world. No matter what happens, always try to do good in the world. Good always conquers evil in the long run. Karma always finds a way to bless those who do good and curse those who do bad.
7) Live your passion.
Thank you to everyone at Evolve MMA for inspiring me to be the best version of myself. I am so blessed to train martial arts every day with some of the greatest human beings on the planet. Without a doubt, the best part of my day is when I am smashing pads and/or rolling on the mats. Martial arts is what I love. Martial arts is who I am.
8) Forgiveness is good for the soul.
Forgive others. Forgive yourself. We all make mistakes. To err is to be human. I wish that I had learned this lesson early in life. I would have forgiven my father for abandoning us a long time ago, and I would have given both of us much peace and love. Let go of negative energy. Negative energy has a way of corroding your soul if you are not careful. Always seek to see the goodness in others (as much as you seek to see it in yourself).
9) The law of attraction is real.
Surround yourself with happy people who live with gratitude and you will see that your life will be happier too. When you are happy, you attract other happy people. Happiness begets happiness. Positivity begets positivity. And success becomes inevitable. The reverse is also true. Negativity begets negativity. And it is a downward spiral. This is why I do my best to surround myself with dreamers and achievers who live with gratitude and appreciation. We are all simply the average of the 5 people with whom we spend the most time. Choose your inner circle carefully.
10) Love is all we need.
Do what you love with people you love. Fill as many hours of each day with love. For me, success has nothing to do with the size of your house, or how many cars you have, or how big your bank account is. Success is doing what you love every day, and making a positive impact on the world. If you do what you love with people you love, you will be happy. Ultimately, happiness is the greatest barometer of success in life. At the end of the day, we all die. If you have not lived a happy life, you have missed the whole point of life. Nothing remains, except for the impact we make on our loved ones and on the world. Love fearlessly, do good in the world, and everything else will take care of itself.
Let’s make 2020 the greatest year of our lives yet!!! #WeAreONE
Chatri Sityodtong is a self-made entrepreneur and lifelong martial artist from Thailand. His rags-to-riches life story has inspired millions around the world on BBC News, CNN, Financial Times, Bloomberg TV, CNBC, Channel NewsAsia, and other major media. He is the Founder, Chairman, and CEO of ONE Championship, Asia’s largest global sports media property in history with a global broadcast to over 2.6 billion potential viewers across 145+ countries around the world. Forbes most recently selected Sityodtong as one of Asia’s next generation tycoons. Sityodtong was also named “Asia’s King of Martial Arts” by the Financial Times and the “2nd Most Powerful Person in Sports in Asia” by FOX Sports. He is also an Entrepreneur-in-Residence at INSEAD, Europe’s top business school. Inducted recently into the Black Belt Hall of Fame, Sityodtong is a Kru in Muay Thai and a Purple Belt in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu. Sityodtong holds an MBA from Harvard Business School and a BA from Tufts University.