The Biggest Secret and Obstacle to Reaching a High Level

August 17, 2021 by VAHVA Fitness

Are you making this mistake? This is what the best of the best in any field are doing and why they are so successful.

In 2018, we had the opportunity to meet, train with and talk to the MMA legend Georges St. Pierre and it changed our lives.

If you don't know who he is, he is considered one of the greatest MMA fighters of all time and also one of the most intelligent ones.

Hearing about his story and his advice made one thing crystal clear: "Coachability" is the key to success in any field. Yet, it's also the biggest obstacle for countless of people that prevents them from ascending to higher levels.

Georges St. Pierre (GSP) wasn't always an elite level athlete. In fact, he started as a garbage man and in the beginning had a low level skill and fitness as everybody else.

One of his main coaches, John Danaher, said that one of GSP's keys to success was "his ability to invest himself."

GSP understood the value of knowledge and he had the humility to understand that the fastest way to growth is to learn from other people.

This man lives in Montreal and while he was working as a garbage man, he used to travel all the way from Montreal to New York to train with John Danaher.

And not even with a plane or a train. He traveled with the bus. That's a 6-hour bus ride in one direction which GSP took every weekend to train with the best BJJ coach available.

John Danaher also mentioned that GSP was getting his ass kicked every time because at the time the skill level of Danaher's students was significantly higher than GSP's. 

According to Danaher, GSP spent 25-50% of his income on these trips because quality teaching is rarely cheap and New York is one of the most expensive cities in the world.

So imagine that. Sitting 12 hours on a bus every week and a big portion of your income just to get your ass kicked. But Danaher wasn't the only one GSP learned from. Over the years he has spent millions of dollars on various coaches which include legends such as Firas Zahabi (MMA) and Freddie Roach (boxing).

It's not a surprise GSP managed to become one of the most successful MMA fighters who have ever lived and likely one of the best martial artists who have ever lived.

It was his ability to humble himself and not let his ego get the best of him. 

GSP is considered one of the most intelligent athletes who pioneered a new style of MMA fighting called Shootboxing (mixing striking with takedowns). Danaher also said: “George was the only athlete who taught me more than I taught him.”

And this man still had the humility to always be a student, always invest himself and be willing to learn from the best.

Coachability is the literal secret to success

Coachability = the ability to be coached. Surprisingly, this is a quite rare quality in today's day and age where everyone wants to learn by themselves by copying others.

Imagine if you were to build an airplane by yourself. From scratch with no prior knowledge. That would be impossible and would take several lifetimes if not forever.

Or imagine if you tried to build an airplane by just watching others and trying to copy what they do. In the end, the airplane would probably look like the real thing but otherwise it would be a total mess.

Or you could just put your ego aside and hire someone else to teach how to do it and build a perfect airplane in only 1/100 of the time. This makes perfect sense, doesn't it?

Only in fitness, martial arts and driving do people think they already know the best way to practice and do things (Dunning-Kruger effect: people with low ability overestimate their own ability).

Anyone who has ever gotten to a high level has been taught or coached by someone. Everyone. Bruce Lee had many masters and teachers. GSP continues to work with many coaches from different fields whether it's strength training, MMA, boxing etc.

The same goes for grandmaster Jiang Yu Shan. He integrated to Taiwan to learn the real forms of Kung Fu and Qigong and is still learning from other masters. Recently an 80-year-old grandmaster of the crane style started teaching him.

Likewise, we have had many teachers and masters along the way. We have traveled 4 times to Taiwan all the way from Europe (from Finland it takes 3 flights to get to Taiwan) and spent lots of time and money to learn from Jiang Yu Shan.

We are happy that we did. If we had learned Qigong only from free YouTube videos, books and articles, we would have a totally garbage understanding of Qigong. The thing with knowledge is that you don't know what you don't know.

And Jiang Yu Shan hasn't been the only teacher we have worked with. A coach who doesn't have a coach is kind of a hypocrite. You must always be learning so you can be the best teacher for your students. 

Obviously, we figure a lot of stuff on our own and do our own research but we understand that other people have perspectives and knowledge we may not have. No one is perfect.

This ability to be coached and find the best teachers to accelerate your progress is the main ingredient of success in any field which can skyrocket your development as it has for us.

Over the years, we have noticed that this is only one part of the equation. The second part is the ability to follow the instructions and do what the teacher says. This is the hardest part for a lot of people because people tend to have big egos.

The people who have gotten the best results with our programs, have dropped everything else and just focused on the programs.

The better you can follow the instructions the better results you will get. Only after you have "mastered" and become proficient at what the teacher wants to teach, you can start experimenting by yourself. 

This is what a lot of people are incapable of doing. We have seen it time and time again: people focusing on 10 different things at once, not following the instructions and always thinking their way is the best way despite having very little experience in the area.

This is what Kenneth from Denmark also mentioned in his recent testimonial. Here we have 15 new video testimonials of people who have gotten great results with 20XX programs.

We want to provide quality programs that produce quality results and that attract quality students. The only thing that is required: the desire to learn.

We have invested tens of thousands and lots of time and energy to our learning, so has Jiang Yu Shan. GSP has invested probably millions (coaches normally take 5-10% of fight purses).

Ultimately it's about information and your ability to adhere to the teachings. The format doesn't matter but you must go to the source. 


samuli jyrkinen

About the author 

Samuli Jyrkinen

Samuli is the ninja behind the scenes (photography, videography, websites, program platforms and more). He has been training religiously for over a decade and has a firm grasp of physical and mental fitness. You will find our story here.

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  • I first read this in Fall 2021.

    This is by far one of the most helpful blog posts I have ever read. It has hugely changed my actions.

    I’ve thought about this article whenever I’m given advice by someone who is where I want to be. Thank you for this masterpiece.

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