Win or Learn Summary

1-Sentence-Summary: Win or Learn explores the philosophy of life and the secrets behind peak performance in MMA of John Kavanagh, the trainer and friend of superstar Conor McGregor, and their journey to success which started in a modest gym in Ireland and ended up with McGregor having a net worth of 100 million dollars.

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Win or Learn Summary

The road to success is never easy, and John Kavanagh and Conor McGregor knew no exception. McGregor ended up becoming one of the world’s most famous MMA players, and Kavanagh was responsible for all his training and mentoring, which made him one of the most valuable coaches. Along with his incredible teaching skills, he is a humble, down-to-earth guy.

Win or Learn follows the lifelong teachings and experiences of John Kavanagh and preaches the growth mindset. By focusing less on losses or wins, and more on showing up, giving your best, and learning from those around you, you too can adopt this mindset and evolve as a person. The book preaches growth through endurance and never giving up, so this is what we’ll explore in the summary.

Here are my three favorite lessons from the book:

  1. View losing as an opportunity to learn, instead of defeatedness. 
  2. To be a champion, you’ll first have to believe in yourself and be mentally prepared.
  3. Always do things out of love and commit to your goals if you want to live without regrets.

Now, we’ll reap all the benefits of these lessons by going into detail with every one of them. Let’s start with the first one!

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Lesson 1: A growth mindset allows you to view failure as a chance to learn

There are two types of people out there: those who have a fixed mindset, so they only engage in activities they know they’re good at, and those who live by the growth mindset, and don’t fear trying out new stuff. Being a beginner at something isn’t always the most fun thing to do, but here’s the catch: you get to learn!

People who adopt the growth mindset know that they’ll encounter many failures down the road as they try out stuff they’re not good at, but they don’t see them as losses. Rather than viewing them as such, they choose to turn them into lessons. However, with a fixed mindset people will only stick to their comfort zone.

They know what they’re good at and choose to stay in that safe zone, even though they’re sacrificing future skills, opportunities, and relationships. John Kavanagh was a big fan of the growth mindset, and he viewed McGregor’s losses as chances to improve and do better next time. Needless to say, this mindset projected them both to the top performers worldwide.

Lesson 2: John Kavanagh knew that champions are 100% mentally ready

Before Kavanagh and McGregor became famous and successful, they had to work hard and keep each other’s spirits up. There’s a long road ahead from social welfare to millions in the bank, but John and Conor always knew that they’ll be champions. 

Conor always kept his head high, even when he was living off of his wife’s earningsand social unemployment benefits. You’d always hear him say that he’ll be a world champion. Kavanagh owned a small gym that was so poorly maintained that it had a tree growing inside of it, yet he’d always dreamed of owning an MMA club.

Not too long after their first victories, John wanted to move to a better location. Everything looked perfect, but it all seemed too expensive. However, he took a leap of faith and believed that no matter how big of a space he has to pay for, it’ll eventually fill up with members, and that became his mantra.

They believed in the goldfish effect. No matter how big the tank is, the fish grows in size enough to live there comfortably. Put it in a lake, it can grow hundreds of times more. That was Kavanagh’s philosophy, and it’s all because they both adopted a champion’s mindset.

Lesson 3: Loving your occupation will make it worth it in the long run

Kavanagh and McGregor weren’t always the successful, rich, and famous people they are today. They started with little to no money at all, as McGregor was living on welfare and Kavanagh was having troubles with his gym. Still, John always put every penny he had into perfecting his martial arts. 

Why was that? Because he loved doing it. He was content with himself when doing martial arts, and as long as it was paying the bills, he was ready to do it for life. Doing things out of love and passion will always pay off in the long run, Kavanagh states. 

Although there were times when he felt like throwing the towel, he’s extremely grateful for not giving up on his calling. Working on your passion will feel great and easy. However, when things get tough financially, emotionally, and socially, or when friends and family start to talk you out of it, you’ll have a decision to make.

Will you keep on going like Kavanagh did, or will you give up on your goals? Looking back, John and Conor realize that there was no other option for them. Quitting would’ve made them feel miserable, and not practicing martial arts wasn’t even in the plan. So what’s your calling? What do you love doing most?

Win or Learn Review

Win or Learn is a powerful piece of writing that highlights important life lessons from John Kavanagh, the trainer of superstar MMA Conor McGregor. The book explores the philosophy of a growth mindset, the importance of finding your true calling and working hard to achieve your goals, and the inspiring story of Kavanagh and McGregor. While this book will inspire you to pursue your higher purpose and never quit on your objective, it’ll also serve as an insightful case study for your personal and professional life.

Who would I recommend the Win or Learn summary to?

The 30-year-old MMA fighter who is passionate about the life of Kavanagh and McGregor, the 35-year-old gym enthusiast who likes the biographies of sports celebrities, or the 20-year-old MMA fighter who wants to become the new world champion and is looking for inspiration.

Last Updated on October 5, 2022

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Maria Deac

While working with my friend Ovi's company SocialBee, I had the good fortune of Maria writing over 200 summaries for us over the course of 18 months. Maria is a professional SEO copywriter, content writer, and social media marketing specialist. When she's not writing or learning more about marketing, she loves to dance and travel all over the world.