The True Definition of Hell

Frank Mir breaking Rodrigo Nogueira’s arm at UFC 140

About four years ago I was moved by a statement that has stuck with me ever since.

During the lead up to one of his fights, Frank Mir changed up his entire training camp and spent it away from his family in an attempt to reinvent himself and rejuvenate his career. He is a former two-time UFC heavyweight champion and one of the main fighters that inspired me to start training mixed martial arts.

When detailing his rationale for the change, he cited his burning desire to reach his potential:

“You know what the true definition of hell is? It’s when you die, you get to meet the person you could have been.”

I think this idea immediately gives you a picture in your head of some version of yourself far out of reach. I started to think of how I would very well fall short of becoming that person if I don’t make self-improvement an active endeavor.

Mir’s inspirational story is much deeper than that as well. At 25 years old he captured the undisputed heavyweight championship by breaking the arm of a 16–0 knockout artist within the first minute. He was a young man entering his prime on top of the world.

Just three months later, everything changed.

Mir was riding home one night on his motorcycle when a car ran a red light and knocked him off, shattering his femur and tearing all the ligaments in his knee.

He was told he would never fight again and that he might struggle to walk for the rest of his life. The UFC stripped him of his title when it was clear he would not be returning anytime soon.

With his identity as a martial artist being the grounding factor in his life, he was sent into a tailspin of depression and prescription drug abuse.

Even when he did return two years later, he was a shadow of his former self and alternated wins and losses against much lower competition.

However, he did not let his tale end there.

Mir faced the demons that were holding him back and rededicated himself to the lifestyle he once knew. He used his path back from the accident as a lesson for dealing with adversity in the future.

He emerged from his hell to soon capture the interim heavyweight title by being the first to knock out the legendary Rodrigo Nogueira and returned to the upper echelon of elites for years to come.

Mir did not allow unfortunate circumstance to stop him from seeking his potential.

I did some research before writing this post and found the original quote that he re-purposed for his promo.

“Someone once told me the definition of Hell: The last day you have on earth, the person you became will meet the person you could have become.”
— Anonymous

So ask yourself, if today was your last day on Earth would you come face to face with yourself?

Or someone far superior?

Are you okay with how you stack up?

The good news is anyone capable of reading this still has time. Whether you have a day, 6 months or 50 years left you can move towards closing that gap.

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-Nick Russo