10 Things I Learned In 2020

10 Things I Learned In 2020

Thursday 1:13 PM

At the end of every year, I like to reflect deeply on the year and write down key learnings. Some lessons remain the same as prior years for me. However, 2020 definitely brought some new ones. In 2020, the world experienced a once-in-a-hundred-years global crisis with COVID-19. I don’t think anyone could have predicted that 2020 would be a disaster year for almost everyone on the planet. COVID-19 taught all of us that six sigma events are very real and can occur when you least expect it. Here are my top 10 lessons from 2020:

1) Live with gratitude every day.
Don’t take anything in your life for granted. Disasters can strike at anytime, be it with your health, your loved ones, your job, or the global economy. During good times, we can often get lulled into a false sense of security and entitlement. We often forget the foundation upon which our lives are built. As the old adage goes, we only appreciate things when they are gone. Make it a habit to appreciate all of your blessings in life every day. See the beauty in everyone and everything. Things can change in the blink of an eye. And they often do when you least expect it. Cherish your loved ones, your gifts, your blessings. Every day.

2) People are inherently good.
I experienced so much kindness, love, and support from family, friends, acquaintances, fans, athletes, and even strangers in 2020. 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.

3) Opportunity always lies in the middle of disaster.
Individuals, teams, companies, and countries all respond differently to a crisis. At ONE Championship, my team blew me away with its unbreakable warrior spirit and never-ending creativity to solve never-seen-before problems. I truly believe that the greatest individuals, teams, companies, and countries rise above everything and unleash their greatness during the worst moments in life. Today, ONE Championship is in the strongest position it has ever been in history with record high viewership numbers across all platforms. The same thing goes for my team at EVOLVE. Through incredible sacrifice, passion, and grit, everyone rallied together in the most difficult of circumstances to deliver remarkable performance by any standard. I can tell you that EVOLVE is made up of extraordinary men and women who are truly world champions in life. 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) Grit is everything.
I know everyone around the world is suffering right now, but let us remember that we are all fighting together. No one is alone. In many ways, this tragic experience is teaching us yet again that humanity is ONE. We all love, laugh, cry, and dream. Let us always be kind, empathetic, and compassionate to each other, but even more so in these times. Let us join hands. Let us be strong. Let us stand united. Together, we can conquer anything. 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.

5) 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, Greenoaks, and Vulcan 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 our 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 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!

6) 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.

7) 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. In the end, karma always finds a way to bless those who do good and curse those who do bad.

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.
Never in a million years did I ever think that I would star in a TV show, let alone a global reality TV show like The Apprentice. The funny thing is that I learned so much about myself and life by opening myself up to this new adventure. It also taught me again that the law of attraction is real. I met some incredible people on the show and I can tell you that a few of them will go on to achieve big things in life. The winner of the inaugural The Apprentice: ONE Championship Edition is yet another testament to the law of attraction. You’ll have to wait until March 2021 when the show airs to find out who the winner is! The Universe works in mysterious ways to help you achieve your dreams, but you must listen carefully to your inner voice. This winner did exactly that and deserves the world for landing the biggest opportunity in life. Everything makes sense only when you look backwards at your life. Going forward is the hard part, but the key is to listen to what it is that ignites your soul. 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 2021 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 Group ONE Holdings (ONE), Asia’s largest global sports media platform in history with a global broadcast to over 150+ countries around the world. Sityodtong was named “Asia’s King of Martial Arts” by the Financial Times and was ranked the “2nd Most Powerful Person in Sports in Asia” by FOX Sports. Sityodtong was also selected as one of “Asia’s Top 100 Business Leaders” by Business Insider. He is 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 under Yodtong Senanan and a Purple Belt in Brazilian Jiu-Jitsu under Renzo Gracie. Sityodtong holds an MBA from Harvard Business School and a BA from Tufts University.



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